It's '​​all about protecting local physicians from competition': Why states are against easing licensing for telemedicine 

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States currently define telemedicine by the location of the patient, not the physician, which can create barriers for practicing via telemedicine. 

In a July 20 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Joseph Bernstein, MD, and Shirley Svorny, PhD, shared insights on state licensing laws and why they believe the regulations are restricting virtual care practices. 

Dr. Svorny, an economics professor at California State University Northridge, referred to current state licensing laws as a "barrier to interstate commerce," since they require physicians to be licensed in each and every state in which they treat patients. 

"Why not define the location of telemedicine treatment, via an act of Congress, as the doctor's location?" she wrote. "Seeking care from an out-of-state physician via telemedicine would be treated no different from traveling to the physician’s office for care." 

Dr. Bernstein, an orthopedic surgery professor at University of Pennsylvania, wrote that state licensing laws should be changed since all the information "a state may use to evaluate a physician is issued and verified by countrywide organizations." He pointed out that, in his case, he passed the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination and has been certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. 

For these reasons, he wrote that he believes the resistance to change licensing regulations to better accommodate telemedicine is based on states not wanting to push competition. 

"Let’s be honest," Dr. Bernstein wrote. "State opposition to medical-licensure reciprocity is all about protecting local physicians from competition."

 

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