State licensure requirements have been an onerous barrier to telemedicine access, innovation, and expansion, particularly along state borders. But there is good news for physical therapists hoping to practice across borders – the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), developed by the Federation of State Boards for Physical Therapy (FSBPT), came into effect in April. Washington state was the tenth state to enact the legislation, the minimum number needed for it to go into effect. Missouri is among the ten member states, having passed the legislation last year. In Oklahoma, legislation to join the Compact passed the Senate but did not pass the House.
Other compact member states include Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The compact will become operational as soon as Compact Commission officials from member states finalize implementation development and institute rules and bylaws. These Commission meetings begin June 14.
“We believe that the structure and tenets of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact provide the checks and balances to ensure enhanced access to the qualified [allied] health workforce in our country,” said Jonathan Linkous, the ATA’s CEO, in a Jan. 27, 2016 letter to William A. Hatherill, his counterpart at the FSBPT. “At the same time, the compact will provide a multi-state licensing framework for other health professionals using advanced technologies.”
Heartland Teleheath states have varied markedly in their participation in licensure compacts. Kansas is a member of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), but not Missouri or Oklahoma, as noted in last month’s newsletter. The IMLC, similar to other compacts, streamlines a process for physicians to obtain licenses to practice across state lines.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has projected that its Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact will be established by the end of 2018. Missouri, but not Kansas or Oklahoma, has also enacted legislation to join this compact, which allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/VNs) to have one multi-state license.
HTRC will keep you updated as these and other licensure compacts advance.