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Tennessee's Liberal Medical Licensing Praised

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The founder of the Knoxville-based charity Remote Area Medical (RAM) says he wishes more states had Tennessee’s liberal medical licensing laws.

Stan Brock says RAM has treated more than half-a-million patients since 1992, but it could serve even more if state laws were changed.

Brock formed RAM initially to provide free medical care in poor communities overseas. He discovered a similar need locally when an East Tennessee county asked him to arrange free care for local residents. The county’s only hospital had just closed.

“After that we got a call from the county next door and next door to that, and pretty soon we were doing it every week.”

Brock says he headquartered RAM here because Tennessee is one of the few states that allows doctors from other states to practice short-term, charity medicine without a Tennessee medical license.

“So it makes it very difficult when we go to other states to be able to come up with enough volunteers to meet the kind of need that you see here.”

Brock cites a recent example. He says RAM went to Joplin, Mo., with a mobile eyeglass lab. But they weren’t allowed to make free glasses because their optometrists and opticians were not licensed in the state of Missouri.