The following is an excerpt from Repertoire May’s cover story on physician alignment. To read the full article online, click here

Will vendor credentialing hit non-hospital sites? Alternate-site reps may be asking themselves that question, particularly if IDNs continue to acquire clinics and other non-hospital providers.

According to those with whom Repertoire spoke, if credentialing does sprout up in non-hospital facilities, chances are it will be in surgery centers first. In fact, the country’s largest surgery center chain, Surgical Care Affiliates, Birmingham, Ala., already has a system in place.

“It’s inevitable we’ll see it more and more,” says Bill Barr, vice president, healthcare services, Henry Schein Medical Group.

Intermountain Healthcare, the Salt Lake City, Utah-based IDN, requires credentialing for reps calling on physicians’ offices and surgery centers located in Intermountain hospitals or on hospital campuses, says Jo Ann Autenrieb, vendor access program manager, supply chain organization. Intermountain has seven surgery centers located on hospital campuses.

The IDN has 180 clinics, most of them removed from Intermountain hospital campuses. Reps calling on those clinics are not required to be credentialed, though Intermountain is in the process of reviewing its credentialing policies in an attempt to standardize procedures across all its facilities.

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, which accredits approximately 4,600 ambulatory care facilities, does not call for vendor credentialing per se. But its Accreditation Handbook for Ambulatory Health Care 2011 says, “The organization must have a written policy that addresses all other persons allowed in patient care areas that are not authorized staff (students, interested physicians, health care industry representatives, surveyors, etc.), including evidence of patient consent.”

“We do see our solution being implemented today, particularly in surgery centers,” says Bill Hayes, president and COO, Vendormate, Atlanta, Ga. In fact, credentialing among surgery centers “seems to be moving at a pace similar to what we saw two years ago in acute care facilities,” he says. Surgical Care Affiliates is one of the company’s clients. But Vendormate has yet to see much, if any, activity in physicians’ offices or long-term-care facilities.

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