Locum tenens is an effective strategy for healthcare facilities to fill staffing voids; however, they want assurances candidates will be well qualified, which is why physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) undergo a thorough credentialing process. But what does that process entail? Here are 10 things locum tenens professionals should know about how credentialing works.
Primary source verification
The point of credentialing is to confirm your professional identity and qualifications. Providers hoping to accept locum tenens jobs begin by filling out an online application, which is then verified by internal credentialing representatives.
The team reaches out to previous places of employment and hospitals where providers hold privileges to make sure your privileges are in good standing.
Be prepared to provide:
- Proof of training, including residency and fellowship
- Medical school diploma
- Board certifications
- DEA certification
- Life support certifications, such as advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
- Medical licenses
- Official change-of-name documentation if applicable
Scan, email, fax or mail pictures of these documents to the credentialing team. Hard copies aren’t usually needed.
Foreign-trained physicians are required to submit their Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification as well as proof of permanent resident status or H-1B visa.
Each provider is required to name at least three references, two of which should be from clinicians within your specialty. You should also list your program director as a reference and ensure you have current and correct contact information for each person. If a team member can’t reach your reference and has to request a new name, it slows down the process.
Your references should provide a view of your competency over the past two years, especially in procedures you’ll be expected to perform on your assignment.
Once the internal credentialing team confirms your data, your agency credentialing is finalized and remains valid for two years. However, you will have to go through a separate credentialing process for each assignment at each new hospital. This is referred to as external credentialing, and it’s required because each facility has its own requisites and insists on its own primary source verifications.
The good news is the external credentialing team pre-populates the hospital application with the information the internal credentialing team compiled to save you time.
After the team fills out as much of the information it can, they send it to you to finish — and then you forward the completed form to the hospital. From there, the external credentialing team works directly with the facility to fill in any blanks or answer questions. The team’s ultimate goal is to save doctors time so they can treat patients rather than fill out paperwork.
Hospitals mandate clinicians have current vaccinations for:
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, mumps and rubella
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
- Meningococcal disease
A negative tuberculosis test result within the past year is also required.
At Weatherby Healthcare, both credentialing teams are divided into medical specialties. This helps streamline the process because members are familiar with the specific terminology and procedures.
Requirements for physician assistants and nurse practitioners
Because locum tenens advanced practice professionals become Weatherby Healthcare employees, unlike physicians, PAs and NPs must turn in various health tests and drug screens. They also have to fill out identification verification forms on the first day of an assignment.
Report all licensure sanctions or malpractice claims in detail. Also, make sure applications match your CV, because the credentialing teams have to investigate any discrepancies, even two-month differences. The process becomes much easier when you provide accurate information.
Finally, timely communication with consultants and credentialing representatives can help prevent delays. Let them know whether you prefer email, phone calls or even text messages so they can get a hold of you quickly.