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UPDATE: New Guidelines Released as Telemedicine Services Expand

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Update: The Joint Commission has retracted the draft standards for telemedicine outlined below, announcing that "At this time, we have closed the field review and decided not to move forward with the proposed telehealth standards." The proposed changes had garnered pushback from some in the industry who were concerned that the standards would be more restrictive than current requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and state regulators. A spokesperson from TJC told FierceHealthcare that internal review had determined TJC's existing requirements for accreditation adequately applied to telehealth services and that further requirements would be unnecessary. In the future, TJC plans to address enhancements for survey guidance examining telehealth practices and quality and safety issues with telehealth provision.

Telemedicine continues to expand into the healthcare delivery system, and the recent natural disasters across the country have demonstrated just how useful telemedicine can be in a crisis and beyond. As federal and state governments, accrediting organizations, and other healthcare stakeholders recognize the growth and potential of these services, new rules, regulations, and guidelines are beginning to be released. Two major telemedicine efforts were released this month by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum.

First, The Joint Commission released proposed revisions to their hospital accreditation standards for hospitals providing “direct-to-patient telehealth services.” TJC, one of the largest and most widely accepted accreditation organizations for hospitals in the United States, introduced changes to two existing standards (Provision of Care Standard 01.01.01 and Rights & Responsibilities of the Individual Standard 01.03.01) and introduced a new standard, Ri.01.08.01. The proposed changes, which are examined in detail here, include requirements for informed consent for patients about the nature of the telehealth services and the provider. The National Law Review article linked above examines how the proposed standards go beyond statutory requirements in some cases, and how they may affect hospitals and other telehealth providers.

The National Quality Forum, an organization contracted by the federal government to develop healthcare performance measures, recently released a report developing a framework for a telehealth quality measurement program. NQF’s Telehealth Committee recommended various methods to measure telemedicine as a care delivery system along four basic categories: access to care, financial impact to patients and providers, patient and clinician experience, and clinical and operations effectiveness. The report, analyzed hereby mHealthIntelligence, also highlights specific existing measures that can be applied to telehealth, as well as examining how telehealth activities can fit into the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) introduced in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).


NAMSS will continue to monitor developments in telemedicine and their impacts on MSPs. Specifically, NAMSS recently formed a working group in partnership with the American Telemedicine Association to examine the issue of credentialing by proxy for hospitals attempting to credential telemedicine providers at other locations. The group will be developing a packet of educational and instructional materials to introduce MSPs who may not be as familiar with telemedicine to the topic and provide guidelines for developing credentialing by proxy programs at their own facilities. 

CMS Clarifies Guidance on Hospital Definitions

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released a memoclarifying guidance under Appendix A of the State Operations Manual (SOM). This guidance is meant to shed light on the definition of a hospital under the Social Security Act.

With the rise of “microhospitals,” small facilities that operate like acute care hospitals with a low number of inpatient beds, there has been some confusion regarding the certification process for such facilities. A variety of other facility models have run into the same issues, as care providers attempt new innovations in care and locations that may stray from the traditional idea of a hospital facility.

The CMS memo clarifies that the federal Medicare definition of a hospital under the Social Security Act may not always mesh perfectly with state requirements for the same certification. That is, “a facility may have a license from a state to operate as a hospital,” but “that facility may still not meet the Medicare definition of a hospital.” Hospitals approved, certified, and licensed by state or local authorities are still required to fit the Medicare criteria, including Conditions for Coverage (CfCs), Conditions of Participations (CoPs), and observations by the CMS Regional Office in order to be approved to accept Medicare patients. The details of these observations are described in the memo, linked above.

To read more about microhospitals and their growing role in the care delivery system, click here

Illinois Blockchain Initiative to Pilot Credentials Verification Program

Thursday, August 17, 2017

On August 8th, 2017, the Illinois Blockchain Initiative announceda pilot program in partnership with Hashed Health to use blockchain technology to streamline the medical credentialing process in the state. By exploring opportunities through distributed ledger technologies, the program could be able to reduce the complexity of licensing and credentialing. The program will look to provide a new blockchain-based registry to act as a repository for credentialing data.

Eric Fish, senior vice president of legal services at the Federation of State Medical Boards, praised the initiative, remarking that, “If successful, this effort may prompt other state medical boards, as well as others within healthcare, to investigate potential benefits that can be derived from the use of distributed ledgers, and may ultimately result in a more efficient regulatory process without any sacrifice to patient safety.”

To read more on the pilot program, see the full story at Health IT Analytics.

Blockchain technology is a decentralized peer-to-peer system through which digital transactions are created, shared, verified, and stored. This technology consists of three main components: a distributed network, a shared ledger, and digital transactions. The network is the basic skeleton of the blockchain: individual network members generate, verify, and store data on the blockchain, instead of contributing to one central database. The ledger provides a mechanism to share and verify information in the network, protecting the data from tampering and ensuring quick and easy verification of the information within. Finally, a digital transaction is the actual act of generating or verifying data.

NAMSS is continuing to monitor the development of blockchain technology in healthcare, especially with regards to the credentialing process. In May, we hosted our 4th annual Government Relations Industry Roundtable, entitled Building Blocks for the Future. A panel of NAMSS staff, stakeholders and strategic partners discussed the impact of blockchain and its potential applications for the industry. Be on the lookout for further information from NAMSS on blockchain technology and its potential impacts on MSPs!

Obamacare Repeal and Replace Dead, For Now

Friday, July 28, 2017

In the early hours of the morning on July 28, 2017, the Senate held its final vote on Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Health Care Freedom Act, referred to by some as “skinny repeal,” fell 51-49, with Republican Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Susan Collins (R-ME) joining all Democrats in voting against the bill.

The path towards repeal in the Senate had been winding at best. After multiple delays, the Senate narrowly voted to proceed to debate on the House version of the bill, the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). Sens. Murkowski and Collins were opposed to the motion, requiring Vice President Mike Pence to provide the tiebreaking vote. The Senate then considered several different options on the repeal efforts, which were all defeated. Senate Republican’s own original plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, was soundly defeated, with 9 Republicans from the conservative and moderate wings voting against (57-43).

[Republicans voting against the BCRA were Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bob Corker (TN), Tom Cotton (AR), Lindsey Graham (SC), Dean Heller (NV), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), and Rand Paul (KY)]

Next, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought up a partial repeal bill, the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act, which would have repealed essential ACA provisions like the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion, and premium subsidies after a period of two years, during which the Senate hoped to draft a replacement plan. This was voted down 55-45, with Sens. Collins, Murkowski, Heller, McCain, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) voting against.

The “skinny repeal” bill was brought up as a last-ditch effort to garner consensus from the Republican caucus on repeal efforts, with the intention of passing a bare-bones bill in order to come up with a fuller plan in conference with the House of Representatives. It would have repealed selected provisions of the ACA, including the individual mandate, delay the employer mandate until 2025, extend the moratorium on the medical device excise tax through December 31, 2020, and modify ACA State Innovation Waivers, among other provisions. For the moment, Republican efforts to repeal the ACA are dead, and Senate leadership has expressed a desire to move onto other business. However, some House Republicans, including Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) have stated they will continue in their efforts to take down the ACA. 

Senate Republicans Release Draft Healthcare Bill

Monday, June 26, 2017

On June 22, 2017, Senate Republicans released the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), their much-anticipated version of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), which repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Here’s a breakdown of how the Senate and the House versions align and how they break away from the ACA.

The Senate and House Similarities:

  • Eliminate the ACA’s controversial individual mandate, which required all Americans to have health insurance.
  • Eliminate the ACA’s unpopular employee mandate, which required most employers to offer employees health insurance.
  • Enable payers to implement age-based pricing determinations for health insurance.
  • End the ACA’s Medicaid state-expansion and reduces overall Medicaid funding (although the Senate version proposes a deeper rate than the House version). 
  • Enable states to waive the ACA’s requirement that payers cover the following 10 essential health benefits: 1) ambulatory patient services; 2) emergency services; 3) hospitalization; 4) maternity and newborn care; 5) mental health and substance abuse; 6) prescription drugs; 7) rehabilitative and habilitative  services; 8) laboratory services; 9) preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; 10) some pediatric services.
  • Defund Planned Parenthood for one year. 
  • Repeal most of the ACA’s taxes. 
  • Continues the ACA’s policy that enabled children to remain beneficiaries of their parents’ health plans until age 26.
The Senate and House Differences:

  • Tax Credits: The Senate version lowers the income eligibility level for tax credits.  The House version fixed tax credit eligibility to age.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: The Senate version maintains the ACA’s requirement that payers cover individuals with pre-existing conditions without charging these individuals higher rates.  The House version would enable states to allow payers to opt out of mandating coverage for preexisting conditions.  In lieu of this requirement, the House version would provide states funding to establish high-risk pools to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Key Medicaid Points

Medicaid Expansion

The BCRA would overhaul the current Medicaid expansion system by phasing out the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) to states by 15 percentage points between 2020 and 2023 (90-percent funding in 2020 to 75-percent funding in 2023).  In 2024, FMAP reductions would continue until they matched the state rate for other benficiaries, which is, on average, 57 percent.

Traditional Medicaid Funding

While both the Senate and House versions would reduce federal funding to the Medicaid program, the Senate version replaces the program’s current open-ended entitlement with individual beneficiary caps. Beginning in 2020, states would be eligible to receive federal block grants instead of the proposed funding cap if they meet specific requirements and agree to cover 14 essential services.  States may also begin to implement optional work requirements for non-disabled, non-elderly, and non-pregnant beneficiaries.

Looking Back—and Ahead

The ACA’s collapsing state exchanges shows just how difficult and costly it is to expand and ensure coverage.  Theoretically, the ACA’s individual and employer mandates would alleviate the burden to payers by requiring young and healthy Americans to buy health insurance.  The ensuing support from these mandates did not come through as expected, causing payers to leave state exchanges—and leaving many Americans with little or no insurance options.  Coverage and care are two critical—but distinct—components to healthcare.  Policymakers’ efforts to provide insurance to all Americans is misguided if that coverage does not equate to quality care.

The Congressional Budget Office, which provides price estimates to legislation, is currently assessing BCRA.  This cost assessment will shed more light on who would pay more or less for premiums and how the bill would affect the market stability of insurance companies.

Healthcare reform is a complex and complicated process that will impact the way we provide and receive healthcare.  A lot needs to happen before we see these changes—including enough support among Senate Republican to pass BCRA.  The process continues to be partisan and Republicans are finding that repealing and replacing the ACA is not easy.  Stay tuned.

Efforts to Repeal Affordable Care Act Halted

Monday, March 27, 2017

Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives decided to halt further pursuit of legislation - the American Health Care Act (AHCA) - that would have repealed and replaced large portions of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as "Obamacare."

After several weeks of intense debate between Republicans and Democrats - and concerns from the conservative House Freedom Caucus that the AHCA did not go far enough - House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump pulled the bill from being voted on by the House of Representatives once it became clear that it would not garner enough "Yes" votes to pass.

Becker's Hospital Review provides a good overview of this decision and the course of events that led to it. For now, the Affordable Care Act will remain in place - as the path forward for a repeal and replace by Republicans in Congress is uncertain at this time.

So what would the AHCA have done to change American healthcare? The Kaiser Family Foundation has made available a point-by-point tool to compare provisions in this legislation with current law under the Affordable Care Act. Some of the main provisions in the GOP bill were a repeal of the individual mandate for health insurance coverage, an end to Medicaid expansion and a cap on future federal funding for Medicaid, a repeal of tax subsidies to help cover the cost of health insurance, and a repeal of multiple taxes included in the Affordable Care Act - such as the medical device tax.

NAMSS Membership Surpasses 6,000

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NAMSS is proud to announce that our membership has grown to over 6,000 members! This continued growth is the result of countless hours of work from devoted volunteer MSPs all across the nation to make NAMSS a leader in advancing patient safety and ensuring the efficient and effective credentialing of healthcare providers.

Thank you all for your continued support and we look forward to even greater growth in 2017 and beyond!

Tailgating: Impostors & Unauthorized Personnel Access to Restricted Hospital Areas

Thursday, February 23, 2017

According to the Boston Globe, a 42-year-old former surgical resident utilized a common courtesy - individuals holding the door for those following behind them - to infiltrate restricted operating room suites at Brigham and Women's Hospital:.

"As is the practice at many hospitals, Brigham operating room staff hold their identification badges in front of an electronic card reader to gain access to surgery suites. According to video surveillance and staff accounts, the woman tagged along behind employees during shift changes, slipping in as groups of operating room staff held the door for one another."

Fortunately, no harm to either patients or hospital occurred as a result of these incidents. This does, however, highlight the need for hospitals - particular those with large patient and staff populations - to be vigilant. Martin Green, president of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety, stated that such acts - known as "tailgating" - are a common security issue for hospitals across the country.

Implementing extra security measures such as security cameras, electronic identification, additional security personnel and restricted areas, and stricter vetting of physician-sponsored visitors are effective ways to curb the problem of tailgating. Of course, educating physicians and staff to remain aware of who accesses operating rooms is vital, as well.

Read the full story here


2017 NAMSS Education Summit - March 10-11 in Orlando, FL

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Early Bird Registration Deadline is February 3!

The 2017 NAMSS Education Summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Orlando, Florida! Enjoy high-quality NAMSS educational workshops and connect with fellow MSPs from across the country. The following courses will be offered:

  • Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) Certification Preparation Course
  • Medical Services Management (CPMSM) Certification Preparation Course
  • Credentialing 101
  • Leadership Certificate Program In-Person Course
All courses are two-day workshops. Attendees should plan to be in attendance from 8:00AM - 4:00PM each day. All registration fees include entrance to the course only. Attendees must cover the cost of travel and hotel accommodations.

Registrants completing their online registration prior to the early-bird deadline will be guaranteed the early-bird rate. NAMSS requires you to register for the conference online. It's fast, easy, and secure! You will be given the option to pay by check on the payment page if you prefer to mail a check payment. NAMSS will not accept purchase orders. 


NAMSS Education Summit Registration Fees

On or before Early-Bird: NAMSS Member $533 | Non-member $633

After Early-Bird: NAMSS Member $583 | Non-member $683

Becker's: 50 Things to Know About the Hospital Industry | 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Brooke Murphy of Becker's Hospital Review has compiled a helpful and informative list of the "50 Things to Know About the Hospital Industry | 2017." Touching on  basic demographics (number of hospitals, number of beds, etc.), mergers & acquisitions, quality and satisfaction rankings,  industry trends, and compensation, this article is a useful and quick snapshot of the current hospital industry landscape. Read the full list here.

Happy New Year from NAMSS!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

As we close out another year, NAMSS has much to celebrate and even more to look forward to in 2017!

In 2016, we...

Celebrated the 40th Educational Conference & Exhibition in Boston, MA - where with 1,700+ attendees we enjoyed record attendance.

Instituted the Leadership Certificate Program, in which 36 veteran Medical Services Professionals (MSPs) were recognized in our inaugural class, and Virtual Executive Roundtable.

Welcomed 100+ new members to the NAMSS community.

Released the first-of-its-kind State of the Medical Services Profession Report.

Received 900 Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) and Certified Professional Medical Services Management (CPMSM) applications.

Launched a Twitter profile and quickly grew to 150+ followers.

Partnered with the AHA, ACGME, and OPDA to release the Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training Form.

We wish you a Happy New Year from everyone at NAMSS and look forward to building on all of this wonderful success in 2017!

Becker's: 7 Steps to an Efficient, Centralized Credentialing Department

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In an article for Becker's Hospital Review, Sarah Pelletier - advisory consultant and chief credentialing officer at the Greeley Company - outlined the seven essential steps to achieving an efficient and effective centralized credentialing department. These seven steps are as follows:


  1. Standardize and consolidate: "This means physicians shouldn't have to fill out the same application for multiple hospitals within the same system or send in the same document multiple times."
  2. Eliminate duplication: "Every department involved with physician recruitment should be on the same page in terms of what is required of a hire."
  3. Establish a single source of truth: "This 'single source of truth' should be one systemwide integrated web-based credentialing software system that facilitates timely communication between recruitment, credentialing and enrollment staff."
  4. Create an onboarding team: "Systems need to break down the walls between various functions involved with hiring medical staff and create one onboarding team that meets regularly."
  5. Streamline application processes: "Applications, document requests and contracts should be sent in a single envelope to the physician and returned in a single envelope."
  6. Use a knowledgeable physician liaison: "This point person can help the physician through the process and can help reduce the number of incomplete applications."
  7. Integrate credentialing with provider enrollment: "To get ahead of the game, begin enrolling providers with the system's various public and private payers as early as possible during the credentialing process and seek out delegated credentialing agreements with payers."
For the full article from Becker's, please click here.

UPDATE: Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training Form

Monday, October 31, 2016

The National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS), in partnership with the American Hospital Association, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the Organization of Program Director Associations, released a new Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training Form in April 2016. This form, developed over the past several years, seeks to standardize the process for the verification of a practitioner’s internship, residency and fellowship experience in compliance with healthcare accreditation organizations’ standards. Over time, each hospital, managed care organization and other healthcare entities developed their own unique forms for obtaining verification of training. This created an inefficient system in which training programs received multiple variations on requests for the same information, slowing the credentialing and onboarding of practitioners and creating extra work for all involved. This new verification form eliminates these inefficiencies through standardization. Since its release, the form has already been downloaded over 6,000 times and is being implemented in hospitals and other healthcare organizations across the country.

The Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training Form is available for download HERE.


11 of Nation's Largest Payers Advocate for Expansion of Medicare Telemedicine

Monday, October 24, 2016

In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week, eleven of the nation's largest health insurance carriers offered to make available data on the value of telemedicine as Congress considers expanded coverage under Medicare for telemedicine services.The letter states, "We view telemedicine as an important tool in increasing consumer access to high quality, affordable healthcare, improving patient satisfaction and reducing costs," and, "We believe our experience in the commercial market can inform estimates of the impact of policy changes in Medicare."

For the full story from HealthLeaders Media, please click here. For the full text of the letter, please click here.

UPDATE: MSPs & the Standard Occupational Classification System

Monday, September 26, 2016

Please click here to access the comments submitted by NAMSS urging the inclusion of Medical Services Professionals (MSPs) in the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. As previously reported in this blog, MSPs were not included as a new detailed occupational classification.


As MSPs play a unique, distinct and integral role in health care - leading the credentialing, privileging, and onboarding of medical staff applicants and thus serving as the gatekeepers of patient safety – NAMSS will continue to work toward recognition of the MSP profession in the SOC system. Again, we will provide additional updates as they become available.

MSPs & the Standard Occupational Classification System

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released new updates to the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system in July. Medical Service Professionals (MSPs) were not included as a new occupational category, despite NAMSS' submission of official comments in 2014 urging their inclusion. BLS is accepting additional public comments before finalization and NAMSS will be submitting remarks advocating for recognition of MSPs as a detailed occupational category.  

According to the BLS website, the SOC system "is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data." Inclusion in this system increases recognition of a profession both in the public and private sectors, as well as allows for the generation of a wealth of information regarding the profession and those who practice it.

As MSPs play a unique, distinct and integral role in health care - leading the credentialing, privileging, and onboarding of medical staff applicants and thus serving as the gatekeepers of patient safety – NAMSS remains committed to working toward recognition of the MSP profession in the SOC system. We will provide further updates as they arise on this issue.

Celebrating 40 Years of NAMSS Conferences in Boston, September 17-21

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

As the NAMSS 40th Educational Conference & Exhibition quickly approaches, we are excited to highlight some new and fun features for attendees this year. To mark this important milestone, NAMSS is introducing a Memory Wall and a Where is NAMSS Wall where previous conferences will be remembered. These features will be interactive, allowing attendees to indicate which conferences they have attended, where they are from, and share in the memories of 40 successful events.


These are just some of the reasons to be excited about this year's conference in Boston. To learn more about all that this year's event and Bean Town have to offer through a short video and some helpful links, visit the NAMSS website by clicking here

Becker's Hospital Review: Improving Credentialing

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Becker's Hospital Review interviewed Scott Friesen, CEO of Newport Credentialing Solutions, and Jacqueline Lam, Director of Medical Staff Services at Winthrop University Hospital (Mineola, NY), about ways of improving and streamlining the credentialing process. Here are the 5 suggestions they offered:

  1. Utilize an enterprise-wide cloud-based technology platform
  2. Ensure data is accurate and current
  3. Understand the impact of delayed processing on revenue
  4. Streamline operations surrounding enterprise-wide technology
  5. Communication is key
For the full article and details on these 5 suggestions, please click here.

The "July Effect"

Monday, August 01, 2016

Every July, hospitals across the country welcome new medical graduates into their ranks. Many studies have been conducted to examine the so-called “July Effect,” the increase in negative outcomes and rates of medical errors for patients often attributed to this influx of inexperienced doctors. However, according to an article in Modern Healthcare, the “July Effect” may require further examination.

While some studies have found that there is an uptick in medical errors and patient morbidity in July, many doctors and hospitals are arguing that the “July Effect” may have little to do with recent medical graduates entering hospitals and staff turnover, and that the effect may vary by institution. One of the major studies on the “July Effect” posited: “Heterogeneity in the existing literature does not permit firm conclusions about the degree of risk posed, how changeover affects morbidity and rates of medical errors, or whether particular models are more or less problematic.”

Hospitals are staying vigilant, though. Through training programs for interns covering “everything from hand hygiene to advanced cardiac life support” and increased attention to quality and safety in orientations, hospitals are trying to combat the “July Effect,” whether real or perceived.


The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) created the Clinical Learning Environment Review program in 2012 to provide feedback to hospitals on patient safety and other areas. "What we are doing as an organization is driving change by providing that information and then coming back two years later to see what's changed," states Dr. Kevin Weiss, the ACGME's senior vice president for institutional accreditation.

NAMSS 2016 Roundtable Report Now Available

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) is proud to announce the release of its official report on the 2016 Roundtable: Real Reform through Positive Disruption. This event, the 3rdannual roundtable discussion convened by NAMSS, was held on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD. This year’s discussion focused on enacting meaningful, impactful change in the health care provider credentialing and licensure processes. NAMSS recognizes that the time for positive disruption is now, and looks forward to continuing to work with its industry partners into the future to create more streamlined, more efficient processes that preserve patient safety.

NAMSS would again like to thank the following industry partners for participating in this important event: the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), The Joint Commission, Cigna, and DNV.


For a full description of this year’s Roundtable - its background, content and next steps - please click here to access the official report.

NAMSS 2016 Roundtable: Real Reform through Positive Disruption

Thursday, May 26, 2016

As part of its ongoing efforts to work with industry leaders on meaningful reforms to the credentialing and licensure processes, the National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) held its 3rd annual roundtable discussion with industry stakeholders on May 19, 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD. This roundtable, titled Real Reform through Positive Disruption, focused on discussing what NAMSS has already accomplished in 2016, as well as beginning to build consensus on additional reforms.

In 2016, NAMSS, along with the American Hospital Association (AHA), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and Organized Program Directors Association (OPDA), introduced a new Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training Form to alleviate the burden placed on both program directors and Medical Services Professionals (MSPs) in the training verification process. A NAMSS Task Force has also developed a Model Credentialing Application based on best practices from applications across the nation. Roundtable participants were invited to provide feedback on these documents and discuss their implementation.

Moving forward, NAMSS also proposed reforms to the recredentialing and reappointment cycle, as well as the criminal background check process. Again, roundtable participants discussed these reforms at length to identify the most effective ways to streamline the credentialing and licensure processes and reduce inefficiencies.

NAMSS will continue to work with the roundtable participants and others on an ongoing basis to implement the process improvements so direly needed in the industry. Additional information on the background and outcomes of this year’s roundtable will be available when NAMSS releases its full roundtable report in the near future. Stay tuned!


The following organizations participated in this year’s roundtable: American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA), American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), Cigna, Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), DNV, Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), and The Joint Commission.

Efforts Underway in 3 Health Systems to Reduce Surgeries By Inexperienced Doctors

Monday, May 02, 2016

According to Kaiser Health News, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the University of Michigan "pledged that they will require their surgeons and 20 affiliated hospitals to meet minimum annual thresholds for 10 high-risk procedures."

This is the latest development in the longstanding debate over surgery volume and outcomes.As KHN states, "A groundbreaking 1979 Stanford study found that patients who underwent operations at hospitals that did more... surgeries had significantly lower death rates than those treated at hospitals where they were done infrequently. That finding has since been replicated repeatedly across many specialties and found to apply to surgeons as well as hospitals. Last month, a large study found that the risk of complications was far higher among surgeons who performed only one thyroid removal annually than among those who did 25 or more of the tricky procedures per year."

Groups such as the American College of Surgeons and The Joint Commission have expressed concerns about the implementation of these new standards. Mark Chassin, president of The Joint Commission, states, "Volume should never be used by an accrediting organization as a measure of quality."

For the full story from KHN, click here.

NAMSS, AHA and ACGME Announce New Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training Form

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NAMSS, in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and the Organization of Program Director Associations (OPDA) and others, developed a workgroup that has been meeting over the past year to discuss options to standardize the training verification process and alleviate these burdens placed on hospitals, medical services professionals, and program directors. This group has also been working with the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to address the needs for licensure within the form and will continue that collaboration into the future.

In an effort to streamline the credentialing process, NAMSS and our partners have collaborated to create a standardized “Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training” (VGMET) form. To access this form, please click here.

The VGMET form consists of three sections:

1. Verification of Graduate Medical Education Training
2. Additional comments as needed
3. Attestation

For 2016 and future graduates:

The form would be completed once by the program director at the time of completion of the internship, residency or fellowship, with a separate form for each training program completed. The signed form would be placed in the trainee’s file.  The form would be photocopied and sent with a standard cover letter to hospitals or other organizations requesting verification of training.

For pre-2016 graduates:

The form would be completed once – if and when a program receives a request for verification of training. The current program director would review the file and complete the form based on information contained therein, sign and date the form and send to the requesting hospital. Thereafter, that form would be used in response to all requests for training verification – a photocopy of the form, and a signed dated cover letter attesting that the form accurately reflects information about the trainee in the file.

NAMSS is proud of this group’s work to create this new form as it is a significant step toward greater efficiency and will ease the burdens placed on Medical Staff and Credentialing Services Professionals, hospitals, program directors, and other stakeholders. It is a prime example of the type of reforms that are possible when those within the industry identify a problem and work together to achieve a creative solution.


AR State Medical Board Policy Changes

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

From the Arkansas State Medical Board:

Licensure and CCVS Policy Change

In response to requests from the Legislative Branch and other organizations in the state, the Arkansas State Medical Board (ASMB) has approved several changes for licensing and Centralized Credentials Verification Service (CCVS). It is believed these changes may be a factor in helping to reduce the amount of time it takes to license practitioners in this state. These changes are:

- Authorized the use (Not Mandate) of the Federation of State Medical Board’s FCVS credentials program.
- Authorized the utilization (Not Mandate) of the Federation of State Medical Board’s uniform application.
- Reduced the requirement to collect the Work History, including Hospital Privilege History, to only the last 10 years unless circumstances call for the additional information.
- Accept assignments by Locum, Contract or Telemedicine companies for verification of Work History provided by company assignment rather than from collecting verifications from the individual facilities.

*The ASMB/CCVS staff has requested and received approval from NCQA for the use of the FCVS by the CCVS.


New U. of M. Study Shows Wide Variation in Physician Disciplinary Actions

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Based upon data available through the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School have found that lack of standardization across state lines results in wide variation in rates of disciplinary actions and malpractice claims.

"'In one state the punishment for a particular violation could be a fine, while in another state you could lose your license for doing the same thing,' says Dr. Elena Byhoff [one of the study's authors]. 'It has implications for the ability of physicians to move from state to state,' if their punishment in one state is not enough to keep a hospital or practice in another state from hiring them."

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