Avoid Delays in Credentialing Locums During COVID-19

Posted on: December 30, 2020

written by

Ellen Lowry

When trying to serve your patients during COVID-19, delays in staffing can be frustrating - not to mention life-threatening. By credentialing locum tenens providers quickly, you can provide better care to those who need it most.

That said, the credentialing process can be arduous - so how can you be sure that your providers don't miss their start dates? For one, the Barton Team can help. They'll work to track down certifications, fill out paper work, and get the locum credentialed at your facility long before they are due. 

Second, be sure to look out for common pitfalls during this critical time. We talked with Jesann P., Supervisor of Provider and Client Relations, who has worked alongside hiring managers, credentialing teams and providers to find out the most common roadblocks, so that you can avoid them when bringing on a locum during COVID-19:

1) Not All Teams Are on the Same Page

One of the greatest advantages of locum tenens staffing is the ability to fill a last-minute need at your facility. However, once the decision to hire a locum has been made, it is essential that the necessary paperwork is completed for the new provider to get to work.

According to Jesann, one thing that can prevent paperwork from being completed is a simple lack of communication between parties. In some cases, credentialing teams are unaware that a new locum has even been hired. Once the team knows about a new locum hire, the process can be held back by team check-ins between the staffing agency and the facility, and delays to ensure the correct credentialing information is sent over to your facility.

So, how can this roadblock be avoided? Jesann says the solution is the initial communication about the new hire for all parties involved.

“I have seen a lot of success when the client manager sends an email to their credentialing team and includes my team, or the account manager they are working with to lock up the deal,” Jesann said. “If there was just this introductory piece, it would help in a lot of cases, especially when time is of the essence.”

By sending an introductory email with your agency contact included as soon as you make the decision to hire a locum, everyone can be in sync from the start, saving critical time for all involved.

2) Failure to Prioritize

Staffing agencies understand the critical needs of your facility - especially during a pandemic like COVID-19. One of the benefits of locums is that they can provide quality coverage fast. However, with a quickly approaching start date comes details to be taken care of on both sides. As in any working relationship, a lack of prioritization during any part of the locum hiring process can hinder things from moving forward.

According to Jesann, the solution to this roadblock involves prioritizing locum files over permanent ones, especially if the start date is imminent. Keeping other approaching start dates in mind, make it a priority to get locums credentialed first, so they can more quickly fill the gaps needed in your staffing mix. Additionally, be sure that your credentialing team is aware of this policy, and takes steps to make it an ongoing practice.

“Don't hesitate to reach out to your own credentialing team to see how the process is going. This shows that there is pressure to make sure the start date is being hit, and you will know first-hand that everything is moving forward in a timely manner,” Jesann said.

3) Overlooking Details

When it comes to hiring providers to work in your facility, it is important to keep in mind that every facility and provider specialty has their own set of specific requirements that must be upheld. For example, OB-GYN doctors likely need to have done 100 live births in the last year, just as surgeons need to perform a comparable amount of surgeries. Facility hiring managers should keep those requirements in mind when hiring, so as to comply with their own standards.

Before interviewing a provider for your facility, consider reviewing the credentialing guidelines that have been set. This would help establish an informed decision from the beginning. If case logs of live births or surgeries within a specified time period are a requirement, it may be something that you’d like to review on the front-end prior to moving forward with a candidate, ensuring they have the qualifications to make it through credentialing.

While your staffing agency account manager can assist with this, each facility may have unique requirements so it is important to be aware of your own.

“It really all does come back to that initial piece of internal communication, ” Jesann says.

By effectively communicating with your account manager and teams, and navigating these potential roadblocks, you’ll be able to hire the right person for your open position quickly, and provide better patient care as a result.

About Ellen Lowry

Ellen Lowry is content marketing specialist and former recruiter for psychiatrists and neurologists at Barton Associates' Peabody, MA, headquarters. Originally from the Boston area, she joined Barton in January of 2018 after earning her degree in communication from the University of Maryland, College Park, and completing a four-month internship at Walt Disney World.

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