The insurance credentialing process is critical for physicians and healthcare facilities alike. It enables them to receive reimbursements for their work. Despite its importance, the process can be daunting for many professionals and facilities.
It could be faster, more efficient, and prone to errors. The good news is that there are ways to make the process more smoothly. This guide will demystify the credentialing process and give you a step-by-step approach to follow.
Step 1: Gather Information
Provider credentialing combines clinical privilege delineation and payer enrollment (to get paid for services). You must collect all the necessary information to begin the process and verify it so no errors are made.
Healthcare providers must submit detailed applications that include information about their education, training, licenses, certifications, and professional experience. To ensure this information is correct, a credentialing team will directly contact licensing agencies and medical schools to verify the data in the application.
Some facilities and insurers use a third-party organization to do this work, called a CVO, to speed up the process. Either way, having your medical staff start the process as soon as possible is essential to ensure their first billing cycle is on time.
A few errors or delays could cost your medical practice dearly. Omissions of past malpractice claims, for example, can be disqualifying. You’ll also need to allow enough time for the payers to process your applications, which can take months.
Step 2: Submit Applications
The healthcare credentialing process involves filling out an application with information that accurately summarizes an individual’s qualifications, including their education, training, licenses, professional certification, and reputation with medical groups like the AMA.
This information is then presented to hospital leadership, which decides what specific privileges to grant the healthcare provider. Only complete or accurate data are among the top reasons healthcare credentialing applications take so long to be approved, so ensuring each is complete is critical.
It is true if multiple insurers are involved, each may require their own set of documents and applications. Healthcare consultants should get to know the licensing and similar agencies’ staff, who can help move the process along more quickly.
Step 3: Wait for Approval
Once all the applications have been submitted, the healthcare provider must wait for the insurance panel to approve their credentials. It is a common cause of delay and frustration for healthcare professionals and their employers.
Larger practices often have a credentialing team dedicated to this process, or they might even outsource this work to a specialist firm. However, smaller offices can still find that the process could be more time-consuming and cause significant financial challenges. Having staff members knowledgeable about the credentialing process can help them streamline it.
It can include ensuring that the correct information is submitted to each insurer and that all forms are filled out completely. It can also include establishing a system for regularly checking in with insurance companies to see what is happening with an application. It will ensure that all information is processed promptly and prevent delays.
Step 4: Negotiate Contracts
A healthcare credentialing service can help you get on a payer’s panel and negotiate contracts. It is essential because it enables you to bill and receive insurance reimbursement for your assistance. Credentialing also helps ensure that patients receive high-quality care by verifying the credentials and experience of healthcare providers.
It includes assessing their education, training, licenses, certifications, work history, and competencies. It’s also essential to run a check in the National Practitioner Data Bank, which verifies that healthcare professionals don’t have outstanding malpractice payments or any other negative information. Lastly, it’s essential to look at available statistics that reflect the skills of a provider, such as mortality rates or readmissions.
Healthcare credentialing is a long and complicated process, but it’s one that all healthcare facilities must go through to ensure that they can deliver quality care. Minor errors can elongate the timeline significantly, so you must prepare for this process in advance by working with an experienced healthcare credentialing team.