The Georgia Composite Medical Board licenses doctors and other medical professionals within the state. The board is currently implementing a new computer system for licensing. The state Legislature is contemplating a far bigger change to medical licensing, a bill that would allow Georgia and other states to accept one another’s licenses. (Photo: Screenshot of GCMB website)
Photo: Screenshot of GCMB website
Photo: Screenshot of GCMB website

Panel backs bill to let Georgia honor other states’ medical licenses

A bill that would allow doctors to move more easily from state to state passed the Georgia Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

Each state regulates who can and can’t be a doctor in that state. Senate Bill 16 would join Georgia to a group of states that accept one another’s medical licenses, called the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

That means a doctor who wants to move from one of those states to another in the group wouldn’t have to go through a new vetting process by the new state’s medical board, a process that can take months. The bill sets out minimum standards for licensure. It would also make it easier for Georgia to share disciplinary information between states and require background checks.

Advocates say it could help with Georgia’s doctor shortage, both by making it easier for doctors to move here and allowing for doctors to practice telemedicine across state lines. Skeptics say that states with strong vetting practices would have to accept applicants from states with weaker standards.

Lobbyists for doctors and hospitals told the committee they supported the bill. Patient advocates did not testify. Its sponsor is state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, who is a physician. Last year a similar bill passed the Senate but died in the House.

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at ajc.com/news/georgia-government/.

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