Physician credentialing is one of the most meticulous administrative tasks ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) manage. To help organize the effort, a new MedHQ white paper outlines tips for addressing four challenges associated with this critical element of successful ASC staffing and operation.

“The process of physician credentialing is very exacting work,” says MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs. “Credentialing is a key element of the accountability that comes with a physician’s job and an ASC’s responsibility. Our new white paper leverages our experience to share steps leaders can take to overcome credentialing challenges.”

In her role as HR/Medical Staff Services Consultant, Laura Gifford helps physician organizations nationwide navigate the credentialing process. “Proper credentialing essential to the success of an ASC for a number of reasons,” Gifford says, “but a key consideration is Medicare reimbursement. Credentialing is also a critical element in meeting the reporting, audit, and accreditation requirements of The Joint Commission.”

Based on her experience, Gifford explores the top four challenges inherent in physician credentialing including:

  1. Initial Credentials
    The credentials required for medical staff working at ASCs are subject to the rules of the state in which the center operates, and to those of the accrediting body. For a new physician to begin work at a center, the ASC must collect and monitor the required information for accuracy and completeness.
  2. Peer References
    Given the busy schedules of practicing physicians, securing peer references can be another challenging step in the credentialing process. The process often involves following up with an administrator after the requesting provider’s call, to check on the status and ask them to step in and help, saving the practicing physician from administrative burden beyond making the referral.
  3. Longevity
    If a physician has practiced for many years, simply documenting that extended work history can be a significant challenge, Gifford says. “He or she may have practiced at 10 different hospitals and three other ASCs,” she explains, “and some of those facilities have probably closed their doors over the years, making their history challenging to track.”
  4. Staying Up-to-Date
    To keep an ASC current for Joint Commission Surveys, credentials for each of the center’s practicing physicians must be reevaluated every 1-3 years (timing varies by state.) Gifford recommends ASC administrators responsible for credentialing keep very detailed records along the way. To streamline the process, she suggests assigning an administrative point person who will make tracking and updates a top priority on a weekly basis.

For ASCs, the key to success with the physician credentialing process lies in the diligent surfacing of required details, followed by careful tracking as those details evolve and change. Click here to download the white paper to learn more, or contact MedHQ to schedule a no-obligation credentials audit.