Understanding Hospital Vendor Credentialing
Vendor credentialing is the process by which an organization scrutinizes and verifies the various suppliers they are engaging in business, and those they look forward to awarding various healthcare-related contracts. The exercise is aimed at ensuring patients’, Staff, and organization’s safety; by minimizing or eliminating the chances of engaging scoundrel professionals, with a record in healthcare malpractices.
A brief history of vendor credentialing hints that, ‘vendor credentialing came as a result of historical lack of enforced controls in accessing and preventing unauthorized persons to access patients records. For many years, healthcare institutions had lax security which enabled anyone to walk into a healthcare facility without being questioned. Whereas there were sign-in protocols akin to earlier forms of vendor credentialing, they were rarely enforced and often taken for granted by vendors.’
The rationale behind increased scrutiny of vendors is based on the idea that taking charge of vendor access to various areas of a healthcare facility and healthcare practitioners mitigates patients and organizations’ vulnerability to safety, security, and privacy threats. This minimizes the organizations’ risk of exposure.
Is vendor credentialing legal?
The Office of Inspector General among other state-based organizations requires that any healthcare facility receiving federal or state-level funding, subject to exclusive screening, persons and entities directly or indirectly involved in patients’ health care. If they are found to be in various lists of exclusion such as the federal’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities, healthcare organizations should be careful to the extent by which they engage such professionals as per the set guidelines.
How do hospitals manage vendor credentialing?
There are different models through which hospitals manage their vendor credentialing responsibilities. First, the can let the vendor representatives handle the credentialing obligations by themselves, through giving them a set of requirements they should meet.
Another approach is the fully managed approach; whereby organizations take full responsibility for the credentialing exercise. In this case, they have an in-house team installed with the mandate of looking into various suppliers.
Optionally, other organizations can opt to combine their efforts, as well as the vendor representatives efforts in carrying out the verification procedures. This is more of a hybrid model since all the parties interested in the exercise are involved in the exercise.
The last approach is outsourcing all the verification obligations to third party vendor credentialing services providers such as www.Symplr.com. This is the most promising approach since third parties have heavily invested in sophisticated technologies that are fast and efficient. The model is also affordable compared to other approaches.
What are the advantages of hospital vendor credentialing?
As a service aimed at ensuring better healthcare, vendor credentialing comes with a number of advantages including;
- Increased in patients’ confidence in healthcare services as a result of airtight procedures in verifying various healthcare professionals including vendors.
- Beefed up security in healthcare facilities as a result of the set sign-in protocols especially in hospitals that also embrace general credentialing apart from vendor credentialing.
- Mitigation of conflicting interests in the provision of healthcare to patients’ hence better service delivery.
- Seamless running of healthcare organizations especially when third parties are involved in credentials. This is because too much human interference is eliminated in the credentialing process.
What are the challenges facing vendor credentialing?
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, there are a number of challenges facing hospital vendor credentialing, these include;
- Lack of a single set of credentials required by hospitals: There is no standardization among all hospitals of what is required of vendors. For example, while one hospital may require background checks, another may not consider it among their verification steps.
- Lack of a central repository for credentials: A central repository is convenient in serving several functions including housing all the credentials for various vendors among other healthcare professionals. It also creates a good relationship between hospitals and vendors by promoting trust.
- Lack of standardized charges made by third-party vendor credentialing services providers: Different vendor credentialing companies charge different rates which depends on the level of services they are required to provide.
All in all, hospital vendor credentialing as a healthcare measure is a commendable practice since it aims at boosting the quality of healthcare services patients enjoy. Healthcare organizations should, therefore, see to it that they embrace not only robust vendor credentialing systems but also general credentialing platforms.