Without question, navigating the credentialing process is among the most critical aspects of the locum tenens staffing process. When you’re only a few steps away from taking advantage of a great locum tenens job, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to track down a missing document or account for a gap in your work history. So, what can you do to make the credentialing process as fast, easy and efficient as possible? We asked Whitney Jordan, who leads our credentialing team, for a few tips for locum physicians and nurse practitioners:
What are the most important things I can do to make the locum tenens credentialing process a success?
Quite simply, send us everything you’ve got. Our credentialing team is here to help you complete your applications and other paper work needed to be granted privileges – but the output is only as good as the input. Help us help you by sending us all relevant documents as soon as requested. Once we have everything we need from you, we’re generally able to complete all requisite paperwork and simply send back to you for completion of yes/no questions and signatures. If you’re able to provide requested documents in a timely fashion, our team can make the process very, very easy for you. Plus, once we’ve completed one application for you, we can use that as the basis for subsequent applications – it only gets easier after the first time. Last, but certainly not least, it is very important for you to be reachable and respond in a timely manner. Credentialing is, among other things, very time sensitive. A quick turnaround of information can make or break an assignment.
How should I store my credentialing documents?
The best way for you to store your documents is in electronic form. This ensures that your copies are clear, legible, and easily accessible. Sending documentation via fax or traditional mail, while acceptable, has many disadvantages and can slow down the process. We recommend that you take an hour or so to scan and consolidate all of your documentation into electronic form and store on your computer and back-up media, such as a disk or USB drive. Doing so will allow you to easily send us your information via email, file sharing sites, such as box.net or Google Documents, or even via traditional mail. Also, don’t forget to back up your files. In the long run, digitizing your information will save you a great deal of time and energy.
How detailed do I need to be with regard to my work history?
It is extremely important that you keep clear and accurate record of all past hospital affiliations and permanent positions. The more detailed the better. If your work history is riddled with descriptions that simply say “locum tenens”, we’re bound to run into problems. You should diligently track the name of the places you’ve worked, the dates you were there, the address, the phone/fax number, and references (such as whom you reported to and worked with). Doing so will pay dividends down the road. You should also have documentation regarding any gaps in your work history and a written explanation of what you were doing during that time. You should also keep a list of all current and past licenses, with the corresponding license numbers. In addition, it is also very important to track your malpractice coverage/carriers, even if they are from other locum tenens agencies besides Barton Associates. The next item is references. You should have a list of more than three peer references within your specialty. Since most facilities require at least three peer references, having more than three available increases the chances that at least three will respond in a timely manner. You should also let your references know that they will be contacted and that they need to reply promptly. Also, be sure to maintain accurate contact information on your references to the extent possible.
What’s the biggest credentialing pitfall for locums?
The biggest pitfall we’ve seen for locum tenens physicians and locum tenens nurse practitioners in the credentialing process is withholding or hiding any malpractice, license, criminal, and/or disciplinary issues. It’s best to be upfront so that we can help you minimize the impact of these issues. If you do have any of these issues it is critical that you send Barton Associates a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) self query. In the age of electronic databases, it takes a simple internet search to unearth most things. This is the quickest way to have an assignment get cancelled; it is also a sure fire way to burn bridges. If any of these issues are disclosed up front, and a reasonable written explanation is given, the assignment can often be saved.