JAMA September 15, 2020
Anita Slomski, MA

When coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shuttered her outpatient office at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center last spring, oncologist Cathy Eng, MD, combed state medical boards’ websites for information on conducting telemedicine visits with her established out-of-state patients. Then began the hours-long process of trying to acquire temporary medical licenses from Kentucky, Wyoming, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi to add to her permanent licenses from Tennessee, Illinois, and Texas.

As governors of each state declared a public health emergency, state medical boards modified or waived requirements for medical licensure to make it easier for physicians to see patients across state lines via telemedicine or in person in hard-hit states. Yet obtaining temporary licenses in some states was “very challenging,” Eng, a professor of medicine,...