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Lawmakers Consider Physician ‘Compact’ With Other States

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida could become the next state to participate in an interstate medical licensure compact. 

House and Senate panels are moving forward with bills that address conflicts between Florida law and requirements of the compact, which is designed to help clear the way for physicians to qualify to practice across state lines.

The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Monday unanimously approved a bill (SB 928) that would exempt from public-records inspection and copying requirements the personal identifying information of physicians licensed through the compact, other than the physicians’ names, licensure status and license numbers.

The exemption would be repealed Oct. 2, 2025, unless the Legislature agrees to re-enact it. A legislative analysis of the bill, however, said the public-records exemption might be too broadly written. A similar House bill (HB 1269) has not been heard. But the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday will consider another measure (HB 1143) that would authorize the state to enter into the multi-state compact.

A Senate version of the bill (SB 926) has cleared one panel and is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. The multi-state agreement sets qualifications for licensure and outlines the process for physicians to apply for and receive licensure in the compact Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia and Guam have adopted the compact. It is governed by the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, which each member state designating two people to serve as commissioners.

The Florida Medical Association, the state’s largest physicians’ group, pushed the Legislature to consider authorizing a multi-state agreement for licensure as a way to better regulate out-of-state telehealth providers. A report issued in October by a legislative research arm found legal conflicts in several areas between the compact provisions and Florida’s laws. Those conflicts would need to be addressed for Florida to join, including the conflict with the state’s public-records law.