Credentialing and training verifications

Residency Program Insider, July 17, 2007

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Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from HCPro's upcoming book, The Residency Coordinator's Handbook, by Dianna Otterstad, BA. This excerpt is from Chapter 7: "Legal and Financial Requirements."

Credentialing: Where should one begin? Although absolutely necessary in order to ensure physician competency and to protect prospective patients, credentialing may be the bane of every coordinator's existence.

The credentialing and verification requirements have grown, multiplied, and increasingly consume the precious time of most GME coordinators. However, this has resulted in one positive side effect: You can charge for it. Programs use the funds generated from completion of these forms for such things as coordinator education and training, travel to professional meetings, resident social activities, and resident educational materials, among others. Most fees are $25-$50 per form, so in a large program, the income generated is not insignificant. Generally a grace period of one to three years is allowed for new graduates.

What exactly is credentialing? Whenever a physician applies for licensure in a new state or applies for privileges to practice medicine at a new hospital or clinic, his or her medical education and training must be verified. The form will include information on dates and types of training, performance during training, and competency, and it will also ask for information on any adverse actions that may have occurred during training (e.g., suspension of privileges, probation, malpractice claims). The program director must sign the verification of training.

Peer reference form

Another type of credentialing form is the peer reference form, generally sent to three or four physicians with whom the applicant has worked. It includes much of the same information on the verification of training form, and it also generally requires a recommendation from the referenced physician.


Regardless of the institution requesting the verification, most of these forms are very similar, and after a while you may think you could fill them out blindfolded. When a trainee has completed his internship, residency, and fellowship in our department, I sometimes get four identical forms on the same person-one for each component of their training, plus a peer reference-which is great fun. This is where the photocopier comes in handy, or, depending on how the form is set up, I may even list all of the training on one form to reduce paperwork.

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