The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) claims that about 140 practitioners cheated on certification exams, according to a June 9 Wall Street Journal article. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704256604575294712195930970.html). The practitioners allegedly purchased test questions from a test-prep company, which violates the ABIM’s test policy signed by test takers.
However, Christine Cassel, M.D., president and chief executive of the ABIM, is quick to point out that most test takers are honest and take the certification exam in good faith.
Click here to learn more about the case, and read “ABIM Sanctions Physicians for Ethical Violations,” on the ABIM’s website. (http://www.abim.org/news/ABIM-sanctions-physicians-for-ethical-violations.aspx)
Log onto our sister site, www.HealthLeadersMedia.com, for the latest information about the ever changing telemedicine standards.
The credentialing conversation is moving in a new direction in Washington State where Senate Bill 5346 (SB 5346) is building the foundation for a state-wide credentialing database. Briefings on Credentialing profiled the bill in the July issue (available online at www.CredentialingResourceCenter.com).
Medversant Technologies, LLC is the company developing the credentialing database. Matt Haddad, president and CEO of Medversant explains more about his company’s role:
Q: Why did you decide to become involved in the implementation of SB 5346?
A: We became aware of the RFP in 2009 and determined we had the technologies and capabilities to meet the state’s needs.
Q: How would you describe your current state of progress in developing the state wide credentialing database?
A: The compliance date [is the] end of 2010, we expect to be live with the collection database and interface shortly.
Q: What are some of the most helpful comments you’ve received from hospitals and medical staff services professionals who will use the database?
A: There were many comments expressing the need for accurate verified data as well as data that is truly interoperable with legacy systems. I believe we have created exactly what the market has demanded.
Q: When do you think the database will be up and running? What’s your time frame?
A: We are finished with development and most of the customization requirements and should be ready to deploy shortly. Deployment is being coordinated with different state related organizations and public awareness campaigns. We have not been given an exact date for launch as of yet.
Hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAH) will soon be able to use credentialing and privileging information about telemedicine providers from the remote location, according to proposed Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) changes to the Conditions of Participations (CoP). The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register for public comment on May 26.
Previously, CMS allowed hospitals and CAH to accept credentialing information about telemedicine providers from the distant site, but not privileging information.
Nearly 40 percent of the doctors who’ve received fast-tracked Texas medical licenses in the past three years trained at international medical schools, according to a May 11 Texas Tribune article. For MSPs, this trend means that more credentialing applications require a query of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®).
What are some of the causes of this trend? The article highlights the following triggers:
- Many longtime physicians have stopped seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients because of the low reimbursement rate, leaving a gap for recent graduates, including those who were foreign trained, to fill.
- Some foreign-trained medical graduates have Visas that require them to work with underserved populations and the state fast-tracks these physicians so that patients don’t have to wait as long for care.
- Texas is a large state with many opportunities for recent graduates. In addition, there are many organizations willing to recruit and sponsor foreign-trained physicians.
St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network is screening applicants for tobacco use, and those who test positive won’t be eligible for employment, according to an article on PhillyBurbs.com, an online news source for Philadelphia residents. St. Luke’s recent policy change banning tobacco users from its ranks opens up a mighty big can of worms. Some tout the measure as a “win-win” because it is likely to reduce tobacco-related illness, thus saving the organization money and employees their health. However, others see it as an invasion of privacy.
The practice of limiting employment based on whether an individual uses tobacco is illegal 29 states, but 11 states allow employers to implement such policies, says the PhillyBurbs.com article. The article is unclear whether this new policy applies to St. Luke’s employed physicians, but if this trend takes hold, credentialing specialists in states that allow employers to ban smokers may soon see a new checkbox on physician application forms (and be screened for tobacco use themselves).
What are your thoughts? Is it right to turn down a qualified applicant because he or she uses tobacco products?
The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) has asked The Joint Commission to make information about hospitals more accessible. AHCJ has pinpointed several problems with The Joint Commission’s Quality Check Web site. For example, all accredited hospitals are given a stamp of approval, even hospitals whose accreditation status is conditional, and historical records for facilities that have lost accreditation are eventually taken off the Web site. According to the AHCJ’s press release, the AHCJ is offering to help The Joint Commission make significant changes to improve its communication with the public.
The case of a Colorado surgical technician who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for infecting patients with Hepatitis C may have wide reaching effects for other surgical technicians, according to a March Outpatient Surgery Magazine article.
Colorado legislatures, reacting to the high profile case of the technician, have proposed a bill requiring surgical techs to register with the state’s Department of Health and Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Legislators also want hospitals to query the database before brining surgical technician into their facility and to report problem technicians to the database.
Following a newspaper exposé that revealed inaccuracies in the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) replaced the NPDB management team, according to a March 2, Los Angles Times article.
Mark S. Pincus, will return to the role of acting director of the Division of Practitioner Data Banks; he previously held this title from 2004 to 2007. His is just one of several position changes at the NPDB.
The Credentialing Resource Center Blog first brought you the news of the LA Times’ exposé last month. In response to that article and personal experiences, 43% of readers said they were not very confident NPDB contains up-to-date information, according to poll results.
If you’re curious about the latest update on the government’s healthcare reform legislation, check out the streaming video from today’s bipartisan meeting on health reform. To access video of the meeting, visit The White House Web site www.whitehouse.gov.