Easy Credentialing – Prepare Successfully

August 3, 2017 - 11 minutes read

 Cred-BlogAs locum tenens physicians and clinicians become more in demand, the means of credentialing candidates grows increasingly sophisticated. Hospitals seeking help expect to find qualified health providers almost instantly. The deadlines created by demand in turn require practicing locums to gather and organize their necessary documentation on an ongoing basis.

The goal is to have your documents current, so they’re ready before you need them. Being prepared could mean the difference between breezing through credentialing or missing out on a great opportunity. Because when an application asks you to submit your documentation as soon as possible, you’ll want to avoid asking for more time or scrambling to find everything.

What is Credentialing?

Credentialing is an objective evaluation of your current licensure, training, experience, competence, and ability to provide particular services and/or perform particular procedures. It’s the standard process by which physicians and health providers are vetted for positions. Even local locums go through the process.

The Process

Whether you’re submitting to a locums job through a state medical board, a hospital, a locum tenens organization, or an employer—the credentialing process begins simply with an application. Each type of employer requires all your information be organized and entered clearly on their forms.

A Credentialing Coordinator then collects your supporting documents, cross-­‐checks the information, and validates the authenticity of what is provided via primary source verification. The coordinator then prepares the file for review during a monthly credentials committee meeting.

The typical Credentialing Committee is composed of eight to ten practitioners representing all specialties within an organization. This Committee will either approve or decline a provider based upon their file.

But perhaps the most important aspect of the credentialing process to keep in mind— and the one variable you can control—is that virtually everything you present in the documentation you submit will be verified. So remember to be accurate in every detail, with documents that are clear and legible.


The documentation required for applications in the Medical Staff Offices of nearly all hospitals is similar. Expect to receive an easy to follow application form and checklist supplemented with position-­‐specific addendums. In broad terms, be prepared to provide all the data or your practice history—complete with a list of hospitals at which you’ve had privileges, all state licenses held, Board Certification dates, and the details of any malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. Notable documents you should gather in advance include the following.

CV: Your CV must show the chronological progression of your career with dates in month/year format. Providers often indicate only the years, but the Credentialing Coordinators are required to account for your complete history to within 30 days, so do make sure your CV clearly shows the month and year that you began and ended each step in your career. If there are gaps of 30 days or more, make an entry in your CV which explains what you were doing and where.

Education Diplomas & Certificates: You will need copies of your Undergraduate, Medical School, Residency, and Fellowship diplomas and/or certificates. If your Medical School Diploma is in a language other than English, a certified translation will be necessary. If you are still in your training program, you may need a letter of good standing from your program director.

Board Certificates: You will need copies of your Board Certification Certificates. The certificate you present should clearly state the expiration date thereof. If your certification is a lifetime certification, it may not have expiration.

Licenses and Controlled Substance Registrations: Again, you will need current copies of all state licenses you hold. You will also need copies of all Federal DEA registrations you hold, as well as any state issued controlled substance registrations. Each of these documents should have their respective expiration date indicated.

Life Support Cards: You will need to provide copies of all current BLS, ACLS, ATLS, NRP, APLS, and PALS Certificate cards you hold. These should also indicate the expiration dates.

CME Certificates: You will need copies of your Continuing Medical Education Certificates for the past two years.

Certificates of Professional Liability Insurance: You will need copies of your certificates of insurance (also called a “binder”) for your professional liability (malpractice) coverage for the past 10 years. Your practice manager or hospital’s medical staff office should be able to provide you with a copy.

Driver’s License: You will need a notarized copy of your Driver’s License or other state issued identification with your picture on it. Please make a color copy of your driver’s license, then have a notary attest and sign that it is you. Most banks offer notary service free of charge to their customers.

Passport Size Photos: Most hospitals will require two recent passport size photos when you send in the applications. Be sure to write your name on the back of each.

Foreign Status

If you happened to study at a non-­‐U.S. accredited medical school, you 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 (‘green card’). These articles are in addition to the relevant above documents.

Professional References

Each locums provider is required to name as many as four references. These peers are managers uniquely qualified to share an overview of your competency over the past two years, specifically analysis of your work on procedures you’ll be expected to perform on your assignment. To prevent any delays in your credentialing, be sure to offer accurate contact information for each person.

External Credentialing

Once the internal credentialing team confirms your data, your agency credentialing will be finalized and remain valid for two years. But continue to regularly maintain your records, as you will go through a separate credentialing process for any new assignment at each new hospital. This step is referred to as external credentialing, and it’s required because each facility has its own requisites and conducts their own primary source verifications.

The good news, to save you time, the external credentialing team pre-­‐populates the hospital application with the information the internal credentialing team compiles. Once you finish the form, the external credentialing team works directly with the new facility to fill in any blanks or answer questions. The objective is to save clinicians time so they can treat patients rather than fill out paperwork.

Additional Documentation for Assignments

Expect each application to vary slightly and to request some additional forms of documentation pertaining to the assignment. For instance, hospitals are increasingly requiring two years of case logs for new applicants. You can generally obtain these logs from your billing office, or from the Medical Staff, or the Medical Records office. Most training program coordinators can also provide these for current residents and fellows. They are best provided in summary form, as detailed case logs can be too cumbersome. Additionally, more hospitals are now requiring PPD (Tuberculosis) and MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) test results no more than 12 months old.



Document Storage, Access and Transmission

Leading locum tenens companies providing physician and healthcare professionals will be fluent in utilizing electronic medical records (EMRs and EHRs). It will be worthwhile to inquire about how your designated organization prefers to store and transmit files such as your application. Learning how to collaborate in the process will not only save you time and make applying easier, it’s a level of preparation that can get you ahead of the competition.

By obtaining and scanning all necessary documents and maintaining them on a USB drive in a recommended format like PDF, you’ll be ready to apply for locums jobs nationwide at a moment’s notice.

Be Prepared

Anticipating the application process by compiling the pertinent materials will of course save you time and hassle. It also sends a clear message to hospitals and that you are organized and serious about the assignment.

If credentialing coordinators discover that you’ve left something out of your application, they could construe that as a ‘red flag’ which creates obstacles for you, such as a denial of privileges reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Failure to submit an application on time could also appear as though you’ve lost interest in a position. Your application may be pushed aside in favor of a fellow applicant’s completed file.

So work ahead on any and all paperwork with the intention of checking every box before setting the application process in motion. The legwork and time spent prepping your files will pay immediate dividends upon reaching the credentialing stage.