What Are You in For?

November 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm 6 comments

The question seems innocuous enough.  But it becomes loaded with concerns about patient privacy when a hospital contractor not on the medical staff asks it.

Hospitals and ASCs that concentrate their rep and vendor credentialing programs on device reps in clinical areas overlook the large number of vendors and reps in their halls that aren’t providing clinical products and services, but still present HIPAA, liability, and other risks to their patients and daily operations.

Facilities contractors in particular move virtually unnoticed through the hospital yet have extensive access.  Facilities vendors range from general contractors to plumbers to painters, to name a few.  Because of the services they provide, their relationship is quite different compared to that of a medical device rep.  So, thinking about facilities vendors and credentialing, a few areas you may want to consider:

  • Immunizations:  Although they’re not working directly with your patients, they may be working  in patient care areas.  Ensure they are not unnecessarily exposing themselves—or others—to certain diseases that could easily be prevented by an immunization.
  • Training and Licensing:  Considering the impact a facilities vendor mishap could have on your hospital, you should ensure that the individuals working in your hospital are qualified to do the job, have any necessary licenses, and do not have a criminal history.
  • HIPAA Awareness:  Many of our hospital and ASC customers are very sensitive to potential patient privacy breaches.  You will want to know these reps are aware of HIPAA regulations…and won’t be inclined to ask one of your patients “what are you in for?”
  • Insurance:  Adequate insurance coverage is an absolute must.  A New York hospital recently had to pay over a million dollars to a contracted facilities worker who fell off the roof while doing maintenance.  His employer didn’t have proper workers comp insurance coverage, which prompted the individual to sue the hospital.   This could have been prevented had the hospital captured and verified necessary insurance through its credentialing process.

Although facilities vendors may not be as keenly aware of the countless rules and regulations in the healthcare world as your clinical vendors, they should provide you with documents and information you need to mitigate the risks they do pose.  If you have a process in place today that allows you to rest easy at night in regards to facilities vendors, that’s great.  But, if you don’t, you should consider adding these service providers to your vendor credentialing program.

Guest post by Colby Leggett, Vendormate, Provider Account Management Team Manager

Entry filed under: Know Your Vendor, materials management, risk management, vendor credentials, vendor management.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeremiah Kelly  |  December 5, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Can you please provide data to support that these rules imposed on vendor representatives reduce the risk to the staff and others at the hospital? How can we possibly be subjected to provide such healthcare requirements when MOST ANYONE related to a patient can have access to many areas of the hospital???

    • 2. vendorcompliance  |  December 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      The logic is simple. Hospitals are trying to minimize opportunities for acquired infections in situations they can control. Hospitals can control the behaviors of their own staff and of the suppliers they work with. So, they do this by requiring immunizations (or other preventive measurements) of their own staff. Since supplier representatives are adjunct to the hospital’s delivery of care, the hospital also require these people to participate in infection control procedures.

  • 3. Mark Jacbos  |  February 28, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I’ve got a question I haven’t seen addressed on the vendormate website. Maybe I’m missing something. Where is the HIPAA compliance disclaimer we digitally signed when we upload sensitive medical information such as our immunization status, MMR titers,TB status, etc? This is considered part of our medical record and I’m not seeing this document anywhere. I’m not sure holding medical information for thousands of reps without a HIPAA policy in place is compliant with HHS policy, speaking of compliance.

    • 4. vendorcompliance  |  March 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Good point. All Vendormate employees complete HIPAA training through MedCom/TrainEx, but we should publish that information as well.

  • 5. Gee Samuland  |  April 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    What if an employee has an allergy that prohibits a flu shot? Is there an exemption for that employee?

  • 6. top non it certifications 2013  |  June 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading
    through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same subjects? Thanks!


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