AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Legislature gave final approval to a proposal that would join the state with 30 others in making it easier for physicians to practice medicine outside Texas.
The Texas Senate passed House Bill 1616 on Thursday which, if signed into law by the governor, creates an expedited pathway for physicians to obtain licenses in other states through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The Texas House signed off on the bill last month.
The bill aims to capitalize on regulatory relief granted to health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in terms of the expansion of telemedicine services.
“The growth of telemedicine and other technologies has created new opportunities to increase access to health care for patients in underserved or rural areas and to allow them to more easily connect with medical experts,” the bill’s analysis reads. “Also, a robust supply of physicians to meet the demands of a growing population in our state is important. The choice and ability to practice medicine in multiple states could help meet these demands and make quality health care more accessible.”
The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact currently includes 30 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam. Nine other states, including Texas, had pending legislation to join the compact this year.