A comprehensive survey of medical licensing laws and guidelines regulating the interstate practice of pathology

Matthew C. Hiemenz, Stanley T. Leung, Jason Y. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In the United States, recent judicial interpretation of interstate licensure laws has found pathologists guilty of malpractice and, more importantly, the criminal practice of medicine without a license. These judgments against pathologists highlight the need for a timely and comprehensive survey of licensure requirements and laws regulating the interstate practice of pathology. For all 50 states, each state medical practice act and state medical board website was reviewed. In addition, each medical board was directly contacted by electronic mail, telephone, or US registered mail for information regarding specific legislation or guidelines related to the interstate practice of pathology. On the basis of this information, states were grouped according to similarities in legislation and medical board regulations. This comprehensive survey has determined that states define the practice of pathology on the basis of the geographic location of the patient at the time of surgery or phlebotomy. The majority of states (n=32) and the District of Columbia allow for a physician with an out-of-state license to perform limited consultation to a physician with the specific state license. Several states (n=5) prohibit physicians from consultation without a license for the specific state. Overall, these results reveal the heterogeneity of licensure requirements between states. Pathologists who either practice in multiple states, send cases to out-of-state consultants, or serve as consultants themselves should familiarize themselves with the medical licensure laws of the states from which they receive or send cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • interstate licensure
  • interstate practice of medicine
  • pathology licensure
  • practice of medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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