FBI Still Objects to Interstate Licensing Compact’s Use of Its Data

Implementation of the new Interstate Medical Licensure Compact has hit a serious snag.  To date, 17 states have enacted legislation authorizing their participation in the compact, which offers voluntary, expedited multi-state licensing for qualified physicians. The compact, set to go into effect in January 2017, is expected to expand access to health care, especially in rural and other underserved areas, and facilitate the use of telemedicine technologies.

There’s just one problem: The FBI objects to the compact’s use of the FBI’s criminal background check system to screen doctors. Over the summer the FBI informed state agencies in Minnesota and Montana of its determination that federal regulations do not permit the compact’s use of the FBI’s database as described in their recently enacted legislation authorizing compact participation.

Proponents had expressed confidence that the FBI would alter its position, but POLITICO Morning eHealth reports that the FBI has not softened its stance. Jon Thomas, chair of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission (IMLCC), which oversees the compact, told POLITICO’s Morning eHealth on Monday that “the FBI has not budged from their original position.”

According to an August article in Medscape Medical News, the FBI’s chief objection is that the state legislation “appears to authorize the dissemination” of FBI criminal data to the IMLCC, which the FBI considers a “private nongovernmental entity.” FBI attorney Christopher B. Chaney said there is no federal statutory authority for the FBI to share criminal files with an entity such as the Interstate Commission. The regulation does not permit a private organization to receive this information.

The IMLCC contends that individual state medical boards, government entities that should have a right to the files, would access the FBI database, not the nonprofit commission that oversees the compact.

The IMLCC is busy planning it next move. POLITICO reports that it intends to reach out to a supportive bipartisan group of state lawmakers in hopes of swaying the FBI. “While we are disappointed with the FBI response we will be planning strategy and tactics over the next several weeks,” Thomas said. “Our hope is to get this resolved before Jan. 1, 2017.”

Given the importance of these developments, CTeL has made a last-minute addition to the agenda for the Fall 2016 Executive Telehealth Summit.  On Fri., Nov. 18, there will be an early morning session devoted to the topic of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the FBI.

Joining the panel will be:

•    Jon Thomas, MD – Chair-Elect, Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission and Chairman, Minnesota Board of Medical Practice;

•    Rick Masters, Esq. – Special Counsel, National Center for Interstate Compacts, The Council of State Governments; and

•    William Goetter, MD, FCCP, FACP – Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.


Click here to register for the Fall 2016 CTeL Telehealth Summit.

Click here for the Fall 2016 CTeL Summit agenda.

Click here to read more about the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.



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