Filling the Gaps in Vendor Credentialing

October 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm 5 comments

Many healthcare systems focus their vendor credentialing efforts on the vendor representatives in the halls.   These representatives certainly pose a high risk to the hospital in terms of access to patients and patient care areas.  Additionally, they are more likely to glean the attention of a Joint Commission auditor.

However, with unemployment back on the rise, the rate of uncompensated care is also increasing which cuts into healthcare’s already slim operating margins.  While leveraging their buying power to help maintain a profitable business, healthcare systems cannot afford to turn a blind eye to fully credentialing all of their suppliers.  Unanticipated supplier bankruptcies, particularly in the case of strategic suppliers, can cause significant supply chain disruptions that run the risk of impacting patient care, in addition to having a financial impact on the healthcare system.

In addition to credentialing onsite vendor representatives, world-class health systems ensure the following populations are properly credentialed, as well:

  • IT vendors.  Before investing in costly new hardware/software endeavors, ensure that your suppliers are financially viable and have disaster recovery plans in place to maintain continuity of service.  With 13% of data breeches occurring in healthcare settings, it is critical to know your IT vendors properly maintain the security of all PHI (patient health information).
  • Pharmaceutical vendors.   With 99.5% of hospitals reporting pharmaceutical shortages in the last six months and 70% of hospitals indicating that patients received less effective substitute medications, there is no more important time to credential your pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors to ensure financial and supply chain stability that can have life or death consequences.
  • Contracted staffing agencies.  Ensure these service providers will be available to provide continuity of service to the health system and its patients and avoid putting the hospital at staffing and reputational risk.
  • Facilities vendors.  Guarantee partnerships with financially viable and properly insured facilities vendors.  While it’s easy to find another plumber or electrician if your current provider is no longer in business, it is not always easy to find dependable, well-trained and properly insured service providers. 

Many health care systems started their vendor credentialing program simply focused on access control.  The key drivers for implementing a program were tracking who is in the facility, managing infection control and limiting direct selling to physicians.

But now it is important to start looking at the whole vendor, not just the reps in the hallways.  Ensuring you are working with valid business partners who are financially and legally sound.

This post guest written by Adrienne Johnston, Vendormate’s VP of Customer Engagement 

Entry filed under: vendor credentialing, vendor credentials. Tags: .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Eighmey  |  October 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Excellent article. Having a more holistic understanding of the hospital/interactor relationship can only benefit all involved parties. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

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