Guest Blogger: Sue Simons, Staff Attorney, RAS
Under South Dakota law, when an employee is injured in the course and scope of his/her employment, the employee has the right to make the initial selection of the treating medical practitioner. However, the legislature recognized the right of the employer to have an injured employee examined by a medical practitioner selected by the employer at identified times and intervals. In fact, the legislature provided penalties for employee non-compliance or interference with an examination requested by the employer. Pursuant to SDCL § 62-7-1, to invoke this right, the medical practitioner selected by the employer must be “a duly qualified medical practitioner,” defined as a medical practitioner licensed and practicing within the scope of his/her profession under Title 36. As result of the licensure and practice requirements, finding “duly qualified medical practitioners” willing and able to perform examinations has proven to be difficult and costly. Starting this month, however, the number of “duly qualified medical practitioners” may soon be greatly expanded with the opening of the application process for physicians to obtain interstate medical licensure.
In 2015, with the support of the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, the South Dakota Legislature passed the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (the “Compact”). An identified purpose of the Compact was to “strengthen access to health care” by providing “a streamlined process that allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states, thereby enhancing the portability of a medical license and ensuring the safety of patients.” SDCL 36-4-44, Section 1. Under the Compact, licensed physicians can qualify to practice medicine across state lines and participating states may now share investigative and disciplinary information. A physician who meets the qualifications of the Compact will be eligible for licensure in any other Compact-state. Once licensed, the physician is bound to comply with all statutory laws and administrative rules/regulations of each Compact state where he/she chooses to practice. The “practice” occurs where the patient is located at the time of the encounter, thereby making the physician under the jurisdiction of the state medical board where the patient is located.
To date, eighteen (18) states have adopted the Compact, including: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming and it has been legislatively introduced in Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Washington, D.C..
What this means for employers/insurers in South Dakota is that the number of “duly qualified medical practitioners” available to perform examinations may soon be greatly expanded.
More information about the Compact can be found at https://imlcc.org/