doctorIn an effort to help Illinois communities retain and recruit qualified doctors, the Illinois Senate voted to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. A doctor licensed in one member state of the compact would be able to practice medicine in every member state without taking additional tests or applying for additional licenses.

"This is about streamlining government and improving access to health care service," said the plan's sponsor, State Senator Dave Koehler. "We want talented doctors to be able to practice in Illinois without navigating bureaucratic red tape."

The compact would go into effect once seven states adopt it. If the measure becomes law, Illinois would be in the vanguard of early adopters. Several other states are also considering legislation this year.

Once seven states join, an Interstate Commission with two members from each participating state will set licensing requirements for all doctors who want to practice in those states.

Once the compact is in place, doctors who already have Illinois medical licenses will be able to apply for expedited licenses under the new system. They will qualify if they meet several basic requirements, such as already being licensed by Illinois, having graduated from an accredited medical school and having clean records without any medical-related criminal convictions or official disciplinary action.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1229. It now goes to the Illinois House.