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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Conversation about Credentialing

Sharon Hammill
Credentialing Coordinator

Q: How long have you been doing provider credentialing? How long at Eagle?
A: I have been a credentialing specialist for 15 years. I just reached my anniversary at Eagle, a total of 5 years and 1 month.

Q: How have you seen credentialing change over the years?
A: Since we are in a digital world, more of the process has moved online. There are now online verifications and applications. With online applications, the process is quicker. Even emailing some of the state boards have become popular. The more automated the process the more efficient we have become and I am thankful for that.

Q: What would you want hospitals to know from your perspective?
A: I would advise hospitals to use FCVS (Federation Credentialing Verification Service). It would speed up the process immensely. Unfortunately, FCVS is not a free service so hospitals would have to pay for this. But, I think it is a great investment and it can make the process so much easier for all of us.

Q: How can physicians help in the credentialing process?
A: I would suggest that physicians have all of their documents together such as malpractice information, affiliations, and references to name just a few of the documents that are needed to start the process. If a physician is organized and has all of these items ready, then this makes credentialing easier.

Q: Is Telemedicine Credentialing any different than credentialing a physician who will be seeing patients in-person?
A: No, it is usually the same process.

Q: What challenges have you encountered with telemedicine credentialing?
A: The main challenge is the numerous licenses that are needed for telemedicine.  The more licenses needed, the longer it takes because each license needs to be verified. Additionally, with Telemedicine you are credentialing at several hospitals at one time or within a small time frame.  With each hospital needing the same verifications and references; the references get “burnt out” from so many requests, as do the medical staff offices. The volume of verifications also means a lot of phone calls and follow up.

Q: Do you see any opportunities to improve the process? If so what would you change?
A: For each physician, there are numerous licenses and affiliations that each must be verified.  I would like to see the licensing boards become more uniform. Instead of so many different verifications , the boards should be more cohesive to limit the follow up.

Q: What do you think the future of telemedicine credentialing looks like?
A: I think state licensing will become more uniformed. The process should be easier and not so long. Finger printing and background checks are necessary and can take a while. But the rest of the process should become easier with time and as hospitals engage in telemedicine services routinely.