Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Release WHA-Backed Legislation to Extend Physician Licensure Compact

Wisconsin Would Maintain Participation in Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Under Proposed Bill

February 12, 2019

A group of Wisconsin lawmakers released a WHA-backed piece of legislation today that would ensure Wisconsin maintains its participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The Compact was first enacted in 2015, signed into law as Act 116 by Governor Scott Walker at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare in Sparta and Burnett Medical Center in Grantsburg, and has provided an expedited licensure process for physicians practicing in Wisconsin and 24 other states. 

As part of 2015 Wisconsin Act 116, lawmakers required a mandatory “sunset” of the law to ensure the Legislature would proactively review the Compact’s efficacy in Wisconsin. According to the group of four lawmakers authoring this legislation, “The goal of this sunset was not to terminate Wisconsin’s participation, but to review the benefits and reevaluate the need to continue Wisconsin’s participation in this interstate agreement.”

The bipartisan group of four lawmakers, including Rep. Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah), Rep. Deb Kolste (D-Janesville), Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Sen. Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset), wrote to colleagues today requesting that lawmakers support their proposal. The legislators agreed the Compact has helped to expedite licensure for physicians and improve access for patients in need of services in Wisconsin.

“After reviewing the benefits provided to physicians and patients in our communities through the Compact, we strongly believe that patients across Wisconsin have benefitted from the physicians who have been licensed through this Compact process. We are authoring LRB 1122 & LRB 1831 because we believe it is critical to health care access that we maintain Wisconsin’s participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact,” said the lawmakers in a memo to legislative colleagues requesting their support of the bill.

In April 2017, Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) became the first licensing agency in the nation to process a Compact license. Since then, nearly 400 physicians residing in other states have used the Compact process to become licensed and serve patients in Wisconsin.

For more information about the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact or the Medical Licensure Compact Reauthorization Act, contact Kyle O’Brien or Ann Zenk. If you want to contact your state representative or state senator to encourage them to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill, contact Kari Hofer for assistance. 

This story originally appeared in the February 12, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter