Credentialing Across State Lines
It may seem easier not to have to entertain patients in a traditional office, but telemedicine invites its own set of difficulties. The work it takes to license and credential a provider (and maintain those credentials) will double for every state where the provider holds a medical license (up to 50), and for every hospital affiliation, they require.
Currently, many telemedicine providers work across state lines, where licensure requirements frequently differ. Add to this a slew of conflicting regulations for telemedicine malpractice cases, and you’ll quickly find yourself wishing you had a credentialing expert to help you keep up with the madness.
With the onset of the Coronavirus, state officials took a number of emergency actions to ease the rules on telehealth, such as allowing out-of-state providers to treat residents and in-state providers to treat those in other states.
According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, roughly 24 states enacted emergency rules aimed at relaxing telehealth licensing and credentialing requirements. But, just as before, each state’s rules are different, and providers have to do a considerable amount of research before virtually venturing across state lines to practice telemedicine.
To further complicate things, the language used when issuing emergency declarations vary and can be confusing. Several states give out-of-state providers the ability to “practice in” the state or “render temporary assistance” without clarifying whether practicing medicine includes using telemedicine technology.
Current Challenges of Telemedicine Credentialing and Privileging
Without established in-depth processes for credentialing and privileging, healthcare organizations are at risk for malpractice and negligent credentialing lawsuits. To continue to provide patients with the same trust and standard of care via telemedicine, healthcare organizations and providers must go through a rigorous and regularly updated screening process.
In order to prevent negligent credentialing lawsuits, be sure to regularly and thoroughly update your documentation and credentialing processes, conduct regular background checks, implement an ongoing monitoring process, and implement thorough pre-approval screenings and top industry-trusted credentialing specialists.
By partnering with a credentialing specialist, you can protect your organization while ensuring that providers’ credentials such as education, training, board certifications, licenses, and work history are correct and verified.
This will ensure that you or your providers aren’t overburdened with current telemedicine changes so you can do what you do best, focus on your patients.
Looking Ahead: What Does the Future Hold for Telemedicine?
What will telemedicine look like in a post-COVID-19 world? We can’t be sure, but we do know that previous obstacles such as payer reimbursements and the associated expenses have proven to not be the obstacles we once thought they were.
Now that the public health emergency situation is lifting these barriers, the post-pandemic healthcare landscape has shifted. With streamlined processes to meet technology updates, telemedicine is here to stay.
With these changes come increased challenges for credentialing, security, and patient safety. We can help you rise to meet those needs with our thorough provider screening and file management services.
Is your healthcare organization prepared to meet the next generation of shifting demands in virtual physician credentialing? If you or your organization would like to learn more about our telemedicine credentialing services for providers, reach out to the CredentialPro team for the gold-standard in verification and customer care.