Oregon’s state legislators recently passed a law designed to streamline the credentialing process for all healthcare organizations in the state. The bill, SB 604, requires the Oregon Health Authority establish an electronic database by 2016 that will contain all the information needed to credential a healthcare practitioner. All credentialing organizations, including hospitals and healthcare organizations, will have access to the database. The bill creates a system that is similar to neighboring Washington’s electronic credentialing system, except for one major difference. Oregon’s system is compulsory. “When you don’t require something, and it doesn’t get used, you’re not really making a difference,” Jean Steinberg, CPCS, CPMSM, director of medical staff services for St. Charles Health System in Bend, OR, told HealthLeaders Media. The news of a state-wide credentialing system may not be good news for locum tenens practitioners. Oregon is actually the second state in the country to require all healthcare providers use the state-managed credentialing body. Arkansas has its Centralized Credentials Verification Service (CCVS), which all organizations credentialing physicians for Arkansas and all physicians licensed in Arkansas must use. The CCVS system has done little to speed up the credentialing process in Arkansas. If anything it has made it worse. Whitney Jordan, credentialing manager at Barton Associates, says the turnaround time for Arkansas is one of the longest in the country, mainly due to the lack of staffing available at the state medical board and the lengthy CCVS process. Time will tell if Oregon’s process will be quicker. Oregon’s lawmakers have two years to iron out the details of their new system, including how closely the system will scrutinize the information entered by each physician. Steinberg predicts that many organizations, including her own, will continue to independently verify physician information when credentialing a new physician, which means physicians may need to go through two credentialing processes, one for the state and one for the facility, before they can practice.
About Ben Amirault
Ben Amirault was formerly the marketing manager at Barton Associates' Peabody, MA headquarters. He received a B.A. in English, specializing in journalism, from the University of New Hampshire.