Friday, November 13, 2009

That “Special” Time of Year

‘Tis the season when a doctor’s fancy turns toward… re-credentialing. Not roasted turkey with family and football. Not jingle bells and candles. Just packet after packet from insurers and hospitals wanting to know all about you.


They all want the same information in different order:

  • Are you still licensed?
  • Are you still board certified?
  • Has anyone sued you?
  • Are you impaired in your ability to practice?
  • Have you kept up your skills?
  • Are you insured for malpractice?

Copies of your CV, your license, your DEA certificate, and your continuing medical education coursework accompany each form. You must also supply 3 to 5 peer references who are familiar with your practice. Also, your original signature (NO STAMPS) in 3 to 7 places.

Perhaps they would like a note from my kindergarten teacher? I believe she died, but a séance wouldn’t be much more work…

Repeat this process for each hospital or clinic at which you see patients. Fill out similar forms for every insurer. Then have your secretary make and keep copies (because at least one application will be lost).

As I struggle through this quagmire of paperwork, I wonder why this cumbersome process still exists. All of these parties request the same information; perhaps they could get together and come up with a single universal form. Even better, we could put that universal process form online. The amount of paper I am required to submit boggles the mind. The requirements can be interesting as well; some parties want only black ink while others specify only blue pens be used. (One year I used purple just to, perhaps, cause a bit of trouble.)

When you add up the cost in paper, time, and postage, we could put together a national online web-based process. Collecting these sorts of data is not rocket science. Of course, it would require some cooperation among competitors, but it is within reach. A bit of government guidance could make this reality! It would reduce administrative costs and reduce the hassle factor with a learning-curve less-steep than the electronic medical records funded by the stimulus plan!

Imagine filling out this stuff once… That would leave a lot more time for myself and my staff to enjoy family and football and bells and candles, not to mention actually taking care of patients and performing the rest of our academic duties.

1 comment:

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