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FL Board of Medicine to craft new licensure path for foreign-trained physicians

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FL Board of Medicine to craft new licensure path for foreign-trained physicians

Jun 06, 2024 | 5:26 pm ET
By Jackie Llanos
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FL Board of Medicine to craft new licensure path for foreign-trained physicians
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Hallway in a hospital. (Getty Images)

Florida lawmakers passed a measure this year allowing physicians trained in other countries to be licensed in Florida without completing a residency, and the Florida Board of Medicine is starting to grapple with the change.

Under the “Live Healthy” initiative Senate President Kathleen Passidomo spearheaded during this year’s legislative session, foreign-trained physicians with active licenses in the countries in which they studied will soon have a new path to practicing medicine in Florida. A committee of the Florida Board of Medicine voted on Thursday afternoon to start crafting a rule implementing the law.

Usually, medical school graduates complete residencies, during which they practice under other physicians’ supervision before securing a full license. The change lawmakers approved allows them to skip that training period in the United States if they have already completed a residency in their home country.

The biggest question the board faces is figuring out which overseas residency programs are “substantially similar” to accredited programs in the U.S., said Paul Vazquez, executive director of the board. The committee charged with crafting the rule could meet again on July 9, before the full board’s meeting on Aug. 2.

“We were trying to put together a meeting in between to keep moving the process forward so we can get language as soon as we can to make sure the statute can be implemented as quickly as possible,” Vazquez told Florida Phoenix following the meeting Thursday.

Physicians trained outside of the U.S. will have to meet the following criteria to get a license in Florida:

  • Practiced medicine during the four years before submitting a licensure application;
  • Have medical credentials evaluated by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates;
  • Get a full-time job offer as a physician from a Florida health care provider.

That commission is a national agency that certifies international medical graduates to continue their training in the United States.

Once the physicians receive licenses in Florida, they must keep working in the state for two consecutive years.

The “Live Healthy” initiative aims to increase the number of physicians and nurses as the state’s population grows and gets older. Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the initiative on March 21.