I Don’t Want to Scare You, But I Do: The Importance of Credentialing

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By: Shari Dalton

June 7, 2021

Let’s talk about credentialing.  For the last year, it was practically non-existent with a lot of our client facilities.  In a rush to get HCP’s into positions and taking care of patients, many were waiving several compliance and credentialing items-things like licensure, annual physical, area specific exams, etc.  Now that we’re moving into a post-COVID market, most of these items are required once again.

In speaking with clients, they’ve found that some travelers who started during COVID are frustrated about the increase in paperwork they’ve got to do in order to start an assignment now.   This is understandable because they started during a time when they were able to begin work, sometimes within 48 hours of accepting a position!

Let’s be clear, credentialing isn’t glorified paper pushing.  The compliance and credentialing process is critical to patient care and staff and patient safety.  Anyone can look good on paper or tell you what you want to hear in an interview, but the credentialing piece verifies that the healthcare professional is who they say they are, and also verifies that they can do what they say they can do.  There is a rhyme and reason to all of it!

Anyone ever read the reports on David K?  He was a Rad Tech fired from several assignments.  One assignment he was caught stealing syringes of painkillers and replacing them with dirty needles.  On another assignment he was eventually terminated for testing positive for marijuana and cocaine.  His tirade went on for a dozen assignments until he was ultimately arrested and charged with infecting more than 200 patients at a hospital in New Hampshire with Hepatitis C.  But how did it get this far you ask?  Well, for starters not all agencies were calling on references, and some weren’t completing employment verifications.  Some agencies even skipped running a drug screen.  And this guy took care of patients!

While he may be the worst reported case I’ve heard of, he’s not the only one to lie or fudge credentials.  “Doctors” performing exams and giving medical advice, “nurses” working at long term care facilities and swindling elderly patients out of thousands of dollars.  It’s scary and appalling that something like this could happen.

I don’t want to scare you, but I want to scare you.  I want you to know what can happen when we don’t make every effort to cross our t’s and dot our i’s.  Instead of being frustrated by the compliance and credentialing process, be proud of it.  Know that you are making a difference by ensuring that every person you put to work meets a very high standard that ALL patients deserve when receiving care.  And equally as important you are keeping patients and staff safe.

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