A New Plan to Bring Doctors to Underserved Rural Areas

(Undated) -- The Rural Illinois Medical Program works to prepare med students from Illinois to work in rural areas of the state as primary care physicians. But another new plan, to allow multi-state licensing of physicians, is being developed by the Wyoming State Board of Medicine. Kevin Bohnenblust with the Board says the plan would be particularly useful for bringing specialists from a big city to a rural area with a small number of patients. Like many states, Illinois has areas that are badly short on doctors. Bohnenblust confirms that there is interest in this new multi-state licensing approach from across the nation. A doctor could pay a fee and go through a simplified process to get a license to practice in other states that are signatories to the compact. He says it would make things like telemedicine easier. The Rural Illinois Medical Program, in existence since 1993, uses a different approach, offering a community-based rural medical curriculum. More than 70 percent of the program’s graduates are now practicing in rural areas of Illinois.