What Traveling Physicians Need to Know About State Licensing and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC)

If you’re aspiring to become a traveling physician, you may have wondered if you need multiple licenses to change states in between contracts. This is a rather in-depth topic that’s worth learning about, especially if you’re in the process of launching a locum tenens career. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), which expedites the licensure process for physicians who wish to practice in multiple states, has helped many traveling healthcare providers expand their locum tenens practice. As you explore your locum tenens options, here’s what you should know about state licensing and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC):   

How does IMLC work?  

Based on a set of eligibility requirements, physicians who belong to IMLC (often referred to as the “Compact”) can practice medicine in multiple states by completing just one standard application. Rather than apply for licensure for each individual state, applying through IMLC streamlines this process and allows physicians to obtain licensure with more ease and efficiency. It’s important to note that physicians can only receive licensure in this manner with states that are official members of the Compact.   

Physician eligibility requirements.  

According to IMLC, to participate in the Compact, physicians must hold a full, unrestricted medical license in a designated “Compact member” state that serves as their declared “State of Principal License” (referred to as “SPL”). A physician can declare a state as their SPL only if they meet the following requirements: the physician’s primary residence is in the SPL; they conduct at least 25 percent of their practice in the SPL; they are employed to practice medicine by a person or institute in the SPL; and they use the SPL as their state of residence for U.S. Federal Tax purposes. Physicians who are accepted into the Compact are eligible for licensure in any other Compact state, as long as they comply with all statutory laws and regulations.    

Recent updates.  

In 2021, IMLC expedited licensure in 29 states, mostly in an effort to accommodate growing patient care needs due to the pandemic. This has provided traveling physicians with an astronomical number of locum tenens opportunities in many states. Locum tenens physicians can also now work in a telehealth capacity and are needed in many medical specialties, especially emergency medicine, pulmonary, critical care, and infectious disease.   

As a traveling physician, it’s important to stay informed about IMLC so you can maintain proper licensure as your locum tenens career progresses. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the healthcare industry in 2022, it’s expected that IMLC will continue to undergo changes affecting locum tenens physicians.   

Are you a physician seeking travel opportunities?

Get in touch and learn how MPLT Healthcare can connect you with numerous locum tenens jobs that align with your area of expertise.