Missouri Senate to vote on licensing exam attempt limit

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COLUMBIA - With only weeks left in the legislative session, the Missouri Senate is likely to vote on a bill that may lift the limit how many times you can take a medical licensing examination. 

As stated, the act would:

  • remove provisions of law stating that the State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts shall not issue physician or surgeon's licenses or administer the Missouri state board examination to anyone who fails to achieve a passing score on licensing examinations within three attempts.
  • remove the requirement that steps one, two, and three of the United States Medical Licensing Examination must be taken within a seven year period with no more than three attempts on any step of the exam.
  • ensure that applicants must provide proof of successful completion of the USMLE or an exam administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, rather than just proof of completion.
  • remove the provision which states that in order for the Board to waive licensure requirements for an applicant who is licensed in another state the applicant must be certified by a certifying agency in the applicant's area of specialty.

Future medical student Laura Roider said if the bill went into effect it could have benefits, especially due to the shortage of physicians that could be coming up. 

However, she said she understands why some might fight the bill. 

"It's hard though because I wouldn't want to go to a doctor who couldn't pass it in three times. So I can definitely see why people would fight against the bill as well," Roider said. 

She said keeping the three attempt law could be used as motivation. 

"I would see it as motivation because then you study hard the first time and hopefully pass, instead of taking it one time to see where you're at and then trying to figure out how much you need to study after that," Roider said. 

The act also notes the state shall not require maintenance of licensure, as defined in the act, as a condition of physician licensure or any form of specialty medical board certification to practice medicine within the state. The State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts or any other state agency can not discriminate against physicians who do not maintain specialty medical board certification.

The bill is currently still pending. If passed, it would go into effect Aug. 28.