New Online Platform Developed by FSMB Will Help Mobilize Health Care Volunteers

The FSMB, working with several partners, has launched Provider Bridge, a new online platform that will help mobilize volunteer health care professionals to treat patients during COVID-19 and future public health emergencies.

Provider Bridge (ProviderBridge.org), supports license portability by making it easier to connect volunteer health care professionals with state agencies and health care entities in order to quickly increase access to care for patients in rural and underserved communities.

Developed by the FSMB and made possible by grant funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Provider Bridge is powered by data and resources from the FSMB and organizations across the U.S. health care system. Included among these organizations are the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The Provider Bridge platform is currently available for use by physicians and physician assistants (PAs), with plans to expand access to nurses and other health care professionals in the near future.

Physicians and PAs interested in joining the fight against COVID-19 can use Provider Bridge to register and identify themselves as willing to treat patients via telehealth and in-person care. Volunteers will have their license credentials instantly verified and receive a digital document called a Provider Bridge Passport. The Passport contains information about active licenses, specialty certifications, DEA Registration Numbers, NPI numbers and disciplinary history from state medical boards. Volunteers can then submit their Passport to health care entities such as hospitals and health departments to begin treating patients quickly in areas where they are most needed.

“Provider Bridge creates a historic and timely opportunity in the middle of a pandemic to expand medical license portability, facilitate telehealth and build upon FSMB’s work towards greater digitization and access to essential regulatory data,” said Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP, President and CEO of the FSMB. “We are grateful to HRSA and their staff for working with us to help increase access to care, especially in rural and underserved communities, to combat COVID-19 and better prepare for future public health emergencies.”

To learn more about Provider Bridge, visit ProviderBridge.org.

Video of FSMB Symposium on Racism and Disparities in Health Care Now Available

The FSMB has released a video recording of “Health Equity and Medical Regulation: How Disparities are Impacting U.S. Health Care Quality and Delivery and Why it Matters”— a symposium it hosted January 26. The video is accessible for public viewing.

The three-hour symposium, which explored issues related to racism, implicit bias and other factors driving disparities in U.S. health care, featured keynote speeches by Marc Morial, JD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League, and former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Director of the Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, along with a moderated panel discussion featuring leaders in health equity.

Panelists included Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, the American Medical Association’s Chief Health Equity Officer; Leonard Weather Jr., MD, RPh, a member of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and a Past President of the National Medical Association; and Diana Currie, MD, a member of the Washington Medical Commission. The panel was moderated by the FSMB’s President and CEO, Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP.

The video recording of the symposium may be used for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit. To learn more, please visit the FSMB’s Education web page at www.fsmb.org/education.

FSMB Launches Task Force on Health Equity and Medical Regulation

The FSMB has launched an ad hoc task force that will evaluate education and training programs in an effort to assist state medical and osteopathic boards identify opportunities for understanding and addressing systemic racism, implicit bias and health inequity in medical regulation and patient care.

The new Task Force on Health Equity and Medical Regulation will be led by FSMB Chair Cheryl Walker-McGill, MD, MBA.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how devastating the issue of health inequity can be for communities of color and underserved populations,” Dr. Walker-McGill said. “Over the coming months, the Task Force will seek to understand what medical regulators can do to address health inequities and implicit bias and evaluate what processes need to change to make licensing, discipline and regulation more equitable.”

The Task Force is charged with:

  • Reviewing literature on implicit bias, systematic racism and health equity in medical regulation

  • Identifying current state medical board implicit bias initiatives

  • Directing efforts for the creation of a public-facing platform to provide educational resources for addressing implicit bias in medical licensing, discipline and regulation

  • Engaging with key stakeholders (professional medical associations, academia, government, and agencies) to ensure that a state regulatory perspective is part of the larger discussion on these issues

In addition to Dr. Walker-McGill, members of the task force include:

Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP, FSMB President and CEO; Marlon I. Brown of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; Jeffrey D. Carter, MD, of the FSMB Board of Directors and Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts; Diana Currie, MD, of the Washington Medical Commission; Kimberly Gaedeke of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; Anna Z. Hayden, DO, of the FSMB Board of Directors and Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine; Michaux R. Kilpatrick, MD, PhD, of the North Carolina Medical Board; James L. Sabin, MD, of the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics; Kenneth B. Simons, MD, FSMB Chair-elect; Katie L. Templeton, JD, of the FSMB Board of Directors and the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners; Sarvam P. TerKonda, MD, of the FSMB Board of Directors and the Florida Board of Medicine; and Curtis James Walker, MD, MBChB, Chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand.

FSMB Backs Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Antitrust Petition to Supreme Court

The FSMB recently joined attorneys general from nearly two dozen states in formally supporting a petition to the Supreme Court from the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board that challenges an antitrust ruling against the Board by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC ruled in 2017 that the Louisiana Board had violated antitrust laws by adopting a rule limiting the ability of appraisers to set their own fees. The Board responded to the FTC action with a lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit of Appeals. Now the Board is asking the Supreme Court to take up the Fifth Circuit decision.

The FSMB backed the Board at both the Fifth Circuit Court level and again in March as the Board petitioned the Supreme Court. The action is the latest in the FSMB’s ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of regulatory boards following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC — which it maintains makes medical board members vulnerable to unfair litigation and discourages physicians from participating on boards.