Joining a network? Here’s how credentialing works

Providers that have already gone through the Olsten Health Services Network credentialing process on the state level and obtained committee approval won’t see a lot of changes under the new national credentialing process, says Marlene Burchell, LPN, CPHQ, credentialing manager for the Melville, NY-based network. The application, however, will be more user-friendly and will target more specifically the questions for each individual provider type.

"Before, we had about 110 questions we sent to every provider regardless of what provider type they were," she explains. "The providers had to go through and mark every question that was applicable to them."

Now Olsten has one application that everyone fills out. Then a section is added that asks specific questions about the provider type. (For more information about Olsten’s overview of credentialing items, see p. 102.)

The national committee should speed up the credentialing process, she says. Once the signed applications are received in the credentialing department, it typically takes 45 to 60 days to get the file completed and get all the information to the committee. "[With the national committee], we should get providers into the network a lot quicker, get them credentialed, and get them an approval so they can start seeing patients."

The committee meets monthly, primarily through monthly conference calls, although they do have a face-to-face meeting twice a year. "All the committee members are available and dedicated to a certain time every month," Burchell says. "You don’t have to go through the rigmarole of having to schedule various committees in every state."

The committee also is not limited to how many applications it can review. "The conference calls last about two hours," Burchell says. "We’ll bring everyone together, and if we need to expand the meeting time, that’s no problem."

Although provider panels at Olsten are full in many major cities, the company may be accepting new providers as contracts open up, Burchell says. "It depends on the region of the country."