By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports
Idaho’s physician shortage has been a long-simmering problem in the state, especially in rural areas. But the Board of Medicine is removing licensure barriers for doctors from other states and countries in an attempt to improve that deficit.
Anne Lawler, executive director of the Idaho Board of Medicine, presented rule changes to the House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday morning, citing then-Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s 2017 Licensing Freedom Act executive order as incentives for removing some requirements for medical license applicants.
Among the numerous changes: Broadening allowances for international medical school graduates, raising the dollar amount of malpractice settlement reporting requirements from $50,000 to $250,000, and eliminating a requirement that applicants report past health conditions.
Previously, applicants who attended international medical schools had to show that those institutions had been graduating students for at least 15 years. Just one other state had that requirement, Lawler said, and it had prevented at least one physician from getting her license in Idaho.
The Board of Medicine also repealed multiple rule sections that Lawler described as redundant, as those issues are addressed elsewhere in Idaho’s administrative rules. Those rule sections addressed telehealth, supervising and directing physicians registration, complaint investigations, and more.
The committee adopted the rule changes on a voice vote, with Rep. John Green, R-Post Falls, praising Lawler and Little for slimming down the regulations.