Moving Towards Standardization

Vendor Credentialing - Moving Towards a Standard

Bringing standardization to the vendor credentialing landscape has been high on the wish lists of many companies for quite some time now. Hospitals across the country require that specific requirements are met before any HCIRs can even step foot in their facility. These requirements are extensive and include vaccinations, immunizations, TB testing, drug screens, training certificates and background checks.

 

What’s the Issue?

There is currently no adopted vendor credentialing protocol that is uniform across health care facilities or hospitals in the U.S. That means that a rep that needs to access a medical facility to either sell or provide services may find their credentials they completed for one location doesn’t satisfy the requirements of a different facility. This results in lost time and missed service opportunities for these reps and their employers.

Standardization would solve several pain points that are being felt throughout the industry. It would result in a systemized process that would allow exact requirements for medical facility access to be known beforehand. Employers then would be able to make certain that their reps have met requirements in one go instead of through multiple attempts.

 

Who’s Doing Something About It?

The Consortium for Universal Healthcare Credentialing has been championing a proposal for standardization and actively engaging medical facilities to adopt their recommendation. I encourage health care providers and vendors to both consider taking an active role in the coalition and to follow their progress.

The consortium already has the strong support of several large health care providers such as Mayo Clinic, Cincinatti Children's Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. National Medical Systems is also a proud supporter of the iniative and the progress that has been made so far.

 

Some highlights from their recommendation can be found below, the proposal itself can be found here.

 

I.   Some existing HCIR credentialing requirements are duplicative of existing controls, are not necessary or reasonably related to the duties of HCIRs and create inconsistences within established contractual obligations.

 

II.   Proposal of segmentation of vendor credentialing requirements by tiers based off which parts of the hospital will be accessed.

 

III.  All HCIRs must have the following credentials:

  • Company Name Tag (including company name, individual name and photo ID)
  • Employment Verification on company letterhead
  • HIPPA Training in case of incidental exposure to patient information

 

IV.  The following vaccines, immunizations and certificates would be required for representatives that have access to sterile or restricted areas:

Vaccines

  • MMR – Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • Varicella Chicken Pox
  • TDaP – Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
  • Hepatitis B

Immunizations

  • Seasonal Influenza Immunization (specific to the medical facility’s requirements)
  • Tuberculosis Testing (specific to the medical facility’s requirements)

Certificates / Requirements

  • Proof of Liability Insurance
  • Proof of Criminal Background Check (no older than 5 years)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Training per OSHA
  • Operating Room Protocols per ACS and AORN guidelines
  • Product Training / Competency Verifications (if applicable) per Manufacturer
  • Product Complaints & Medical Device Requirements Training (if applicable)

 

V.  The following immunizations and certificates would only be required for representatives that have access to in-patient areas but not sterile environments:

 Immunizations

  • Seasonal Influenza Immunization (specific to the medical facility’s requirements)
  • Tuberculosis Testing (specific to the medical facility’s requirements)

 Certificates / Requirements

  • Proof of Liability Insurance
  • Proof of Criminal Background Check (no older than 5 years)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Training per OSHA
  • Product Training / Competency Verifications (if applicable) per Manufacturer
  • Product Complaints & Medical Device Requirements Training (if applicable)

The quest for national standardization is an ambitious one and would save employers countless hours and dollars. The proposal drafted by the consortium aims to eliminate extra procedures and training that is not relevant to certain representatives that are servicing a medical facility. An established systemic protocol for credentialing would eliminate the wide range of variability in requirements that currently exists across the country.

 

Where Do We Stand Now?

As we are closing out 2018 and moving towards 2019, the consortium is actively working and continuing it's mission to achieve an agreed upon standard policy for credentialing HCIRs. 

Agreement upon a standardized protocol is still in the best interest of both providers and vendors alike. If the consortium can continue to garner support for their recommendation, less and less variability will exist throughout the health care ecosystem. The symbiotic relationship between health care facilities and their vendors will only benefit from uniform standardization. Vendors would see massive increases in efficiency and less wasteful spending on repetitive or unnecessary testing. Less hurdles for vendors, while maintaining patient safety, would also mean that health care providers will see that their facilities are efficiently serviced without disruption.

As national standardization continues to gain traction, there are services that make the credentialing process easier for employers:

Software solutions that ensure HCIRs have the necessary credentials to access the facilities they need to service. Companies like Symplr and Intellicentrics allow companies and individuals to check what the requirements are for specific medical facilities, upload credentials and then get approval for access. This is an example of a proactive step taken forward by health care organizations and vendors working together.

End to end management of health procedures required for medical facility access. We at National Medical Systems (NMS) partner with organizations that have a need to get their employees into hospitals or medical facilities. All scheduling, record retrieval, medical review, titer review and vaccine management of employees is taken on by NMS. These services can be easily ordered through an online portal and medical records are sent to the employer upon procedure completion. This eliminates the huge time requirement of managing a program and removes the need for having several dedicated employees to credentialing.

At the end of the day, patient and medical staff health and safety should be regarded with the utmost importance by all stakeholders. We should continue to work together to establish a positive course of direction for the future of vendor credentialing.