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The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing on Assembly Bill (AB) 253, relating to the ratification of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and making appropriations. If Wisconsin enacts this legislation, we will be joining 11 other states, including our neighbors Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, in the compact.

This legislation is simple and would be of great benefit, not only to the vastly rural 93rd Assembly District, but to many areas across the state. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact allows for an expedited licensing option for physicians that voluntarily elect to practice in multiple states. When applying to practice in another state, other than the one currently licensed in, a physician would apply for an expedited license and would forego having to complete a formalized licensure application and providing appropriate documentation to another state’s licensing board. Simply, if the physician meets the requirements to be licensed in their current state, that proves their qualifications to practice in other states as well.

Licensing requirements are different in each state and those requirements can be burdensome and take a significant portion of time to complete with the submission of duplicative documentation already verified by the state they currently practice in. This can hinder, for example, a rural area of the state being able to hire the necessary physicians to practice and assist rural patients.

As many of us know, not only do we currently have a doctor shortage, but we also have an issue with access to health care providers especially in rural areas. With the enactment of AB 253, we could help attract qualified candidates to many areas of our state while also retaining the doctors we currently have.

AB 253 would establish a commission to serve as a clearinghouse not only for licensure, but also to ensure high standards are maintained. Two representatives from Wisconsin will be members of the commission overseeing implementation of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

The bill was also written to ensure that physician fees, paid by those who voluntarily participate in the compact, will support operating costs, including those of the commission, who is charged with administering the compact.

Overall, this is a smart piece of legislation that will greatly benefit Wisconsin with better access to qualified physicians. The legislation has the support of Marshfield Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, and the Wisconsin Hospital Association to name a few.

I am proud to be a primary co-author of this legislation and look forward to monitoring the progress of the bill as it moves through the legislature and hopefully to the governor’s desk.

Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) represents Wisconsin’s 93rd Assembly district. He can be reached at 608-266-0660, or Rep.Petryk@legis.wisconsin.gov.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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