The Top Oversights in Physician Credentialing & How to Fix Them

Physician credentialing is one of the most important (and most painstaking) tasks that administrators in ambulatory surgery centers manage.

Patients place their trust in their doctors – and it’s a center’s responsibility to verify that all practicing physicians have up-to-date credentials and documentation. ASCs must develop a thorough credentialing process in order to maintain efficient operations and comply with regulatory standards, including requirements for the Joint Commission and Medicare.

Credentialing guidelines are complex, with industry, municipal, state, and federal variations. Here are a few of the primary challenges administrators encounter throughout this process, as well as best practices for addressing them.

  1. Credentialing a new provider takes time.

It can take 60 to 90 days to fully credential a new provider, which has to be completed before they can take on any patient cases. ASCs must meet the requirements for their state; and while most states have similar prerequisites, the specifics do vary.

Administrators should start early, and go through a physician’s file with a fine-tooth comb, verifying education, training, licensure, and employment history. If they discover any red flags or have unanswered questions, it’s wise to do additional research. Taking a closer look now can bring potential problems to light, and protect the ASC from risk.

  1. Peer references are hard to track down.

Since physicians have busy schedules and manage many responsibilities, it is often a struggle to secure peer references for credentialing. The best approach is to have the physicians reach out to their peers first, notifying them that a request is coming, and proposing a timeframe for its completion. Then administrators can follow up, checking in on the reference’s progress, offering support, and reviewing it for accuracy.

  1. Documenting a long career is difficult.

For physicians who have many years of experience, the credentialing process is even more exacting. They are obligated to document their extensive work history, providing details about every hospital and center where they practiced.

The good news is that electronic medical records have made it easier to find this information. It will be more demanding for administrators to locate data from decades ago, but once they do, it can be saved for later use in secure cloud storage.

  1. Keeping physicians up-to-date is daunting.

For ASCs to stay current for Joint Commission surveys, practicing physicians are required to have their credentials reevaluated every one to three years. But because physicians all have different timelines for reevaluation, this is a complicated juggling act for ASC administrators. To streamline this process, they should use a comprehensive software solution that enables them to organize records, monitor deadlines, share files, and search for documents. One staff member can be the point person for credentialing tasks, checking in every week to make sure the ASC is keeping up with all necessary requirements.

ASCs interested in learning more about MedHQ’s credentialing process can learn more here.


10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources: Maintaining a Strong Company Culture Can Save Thousands of Dollars

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) must be able to operate at maximum efficiency.

Falling reimbursements and more competition for patient volume have squeezed revenue, and proactive centers must find ways to save money. One way to accomplish that is to keep HR costs in line.

MedHQ has worked with over 70 healthcare facility partners to find HR savings that also deliver the benefits of improving employee satisfaction and reducing risk.  Through the process, MedHQ gleaned a host of key findings that guided the creation of the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit (10-Point HR Audit). The 10-Point HR Audit identifies inefficiencies that, when addressed, can result in six-figure savings for a healthcare facility.

One way ASCs can save money and keep employees happy is by maintaining a strong company culture. A strong company culture attracts and retains good employees.

“Centers will foster a stronger culture by recruiting a group of 20 – 40 people who have similar values rather than a group with varying values,” said MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs. “A strong company culture accompanied by good HR practices, good compensation plans, and good benefits work together to reduce employee turnover.”

An HR partner like MedHQ can perform a trio of duties to help ASC HR departments build stronger cultures.

  1. Help surgery centersdefine their culture and leverage it when hiring top talent
  2. Conduct behavioral interviewing and organizinga peer-reviewed recruiting process
  3. Identify employeeswho are a good fit not only for a particular job but for the company culture

Reducing turnover by one full-time employee translates to $10,000 – $12,000 in savings related to replacement costs. If a center has a 30% annual turnover rate and 30 employees, that’s nine people per year. If the center can cut that rate in half, that equals considerable savings, both in terms of employee recruiting and training.

Click here to download the MedHQ white paper, “10 Ways to Save $10,000 in Human Resources.”

About the MedHQ 10-Point HR Audit
It takes approximately one or two hours for back office staff to gather the information necessary for the 10-Point HR audit. Typical savings = six figures. Request your risk-free 10-Point HR Audit today. If MedHQ fails to identify $25,000 in savings, the audit is free.

MedHQ Assists Partners with New Federal Overtime Rule

A new Department of Labor overtime rule could go into effect as soon as Dec. 1, 2016, and MedHQ can guide your surgery center through the rule change, ensuring you are informed and well prepared.

The new rule will require employers to pay overtime to salaried employees making less than $47,476 per year, and will extend overtime pay protection to over 4 million workers across the country. Even though the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would postpone the Dec. 1 effective date, and Senate action is pending, ASCs must be prepared.

For the most part, ASCs employ hourly workers. But there are exceptions. “Any time the Department of Labor issues a new rule, there are various moving parts, and it is critical that our partner ASCs are kept abreast of the ins and outs,” said Tom Jacobs, MedHQ CEO. “And our full HR team will work around the clock to make sure your center is compliant; that way, you can focus on what’s most important: caring for patients.”

From the time the new rule was a possibility, MedHQ showed laser-like focus in preparing its partner centers. The company identified salaried employees who could be impacted for the ASCs, and if the salary was below the new rule’s threshold, MedHQ mapped out a case-by-case strategy for its partner centers.

Strategies can vary from center to center, as there can be exceptions, and each situation must be handled appropriately. For example, employees working in sales may have a low base salary that falls under the new federal threshold; but, their variable pay might be quite high, depending on sales numbers, meaning they are not eligible for the new overtime rule. “These are the kind of unique employment situations that must be analyzed and handled with care,” said Jacobs. “And this is precisely what MedHQ provides: top-level analysis and personal touch.”

To learn more about how MedHQ can improve your ASC’s operations, reduce costs and reduce employer risk, email Tom Jacobs today, or call: 708-492-0519.