Remember the movie Catch Me If You Can where Frank Abagnale fraudulently impersonates an emergency physician? That was based on a true story.
The Joint Commission and other agencies have rigorous standards in place to help safeguard the public against this very thing from happening. Some of these requirements include verifying the credentials of physicians, nurses, and other clinicians at time of hire and again during at the time of renewal. Which for that, we’re grateful. When given the choice between seeing a qualified physician or an unqualified one, I think it’s safe to assert that we would all choose the former.
Here’s the thing about these standards, though: someone’s got to do it. When it comes to primary source verification (verifying the qualifications with the original source), hospitals and health systems have two options: DIY or CVO. What we mean by this is that hospitals may elect to have internal staff perform the verifications themselves or they can outsource it to a CVO, a credentials verification organization.
So how do you decide which is best for your organization? Here are a few things to consider…
Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room - budget is usually a primary concern for hospitals and health systems. So how do you stay on budget and stay compliant? CVO’s are usually considered a cost-effective solution for primary source verification, and the reason for this is because the verifications can be automated. What would take a salaried FTE 5 minutes to complete, CVO’s can automate and perform in seconds. Those savings are typically passed directly to the organization, and there’s also an additional cost savings in freeing up your FTE to work on more meaningful initiatives for your hospital.
How confident are you in your culture of self-reporting
Time to be honest with yourself… do you feel confident that your licensed employees know what to report and how to report it to you? The reason this should be a consideration is that changes that may affect an employee’s eligibility to work (like disciplinary actions, suspensions, etc.) happen any time. If you’re verifying the license at hire and at renewal, you may miss these changes unless you have a strong culture of accountability within your organization. Licensed employees should be educated on your hospital’s policies of self-reporting, but it’s a good idea to have a safety net in place. If you contract with a CVO, you may opt to verify licenses every day so that important changes are caught immediately.
Your organization’s openness to adopting new technologies
Change can be a four-letter word for some, but it’s important to remember that technologies aim to make life easier, not harder. Technologies in the healthcare sector are no exception. CVO’s tend to have better reliability than traditional primary source verification methods, are more efficient, and free up vital staff to get back to doing what they do best.
The upsides of contracting with a CVO are convincing enough for many hospitals and health systems. What are your thoughts? Are you satisfied with the tried-and-true methods of manual verification or has your organization taken the plunge and worked with a CVO? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.