Frequently Asked Questions

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When does processing start?

Credentialing and/or privileging processes may not begin until receipt of completed and signed Delineation of Privilege, Letter of Support, and Focused Evaluation Plan forms from the applicable clinical department, or on confirmation of intent to hire from the Medical Service Group or Private Practice associated with the hospital. At a minimum, a complete application and these documents are required in order to complete the credentialing and privileging process prior to committee review.

What is the timeline for credentialing?

The answer to this question varies, depending on the work history, training and education, and participation of the practitioner applying. In general, the process for a simple application with quick responses from all references and verifications can take 8 to 10 weeks from receipt of the application to presentation at the Credentials Committee. Credentials Committee monthly meeting dates are available on the Medical Staff Calendar link to the left.

Medical Staff Services has to get verification or documentation directly from the institution or person with whom the applicant was affiliated (called primary source); foreign education, training or work experience, military experience, or verifications and references that need to be requested more than once prolong the process. Not having complete and correct contact information on the application also lengthens the credentialing process.

After all credentialing for medical staff membership and privileges is completed by Medical Staff Services, two committees review all new applications: Credentials Committee, and Medical Executive Committee. Each committee meets one time per month, and it takes one week between committees. Following committee review, Dr. Laraque-Arena approves as the hospital's designated governing body. For those with Full Time or Voluntary Faculty Appointments through the College of Medicine, Medical Staff Services also must have the signed faculty appointment on file before activating privileges or finalizing the appointment letter. Committee review and faculty appointment can take anywhere from one week to several weeks to be completed.

What do the committees look at?

Verifications from training, affiliations, and employment since obtaining a medical degree, peer references, negative or neutral comments made on verifications and references, verifications from state licensing, sanctioning entities, National Practitioner Data Bank reports, board certification (through the Board's online website, when possible), foreign medical school (through ECFMG, or primary source verification when necessary), malpractice coverage and claims histories, AMA Profile (when applicable), DEA verification, and competency data for requested privileges.

What is delegated credentialing?

All state licensed insurance companies and many networks are regulated to require credentialing of participating providers. HMOs are specifically regulated with regard to credentialing and follow regulatory standards. NCQA and URAC are accrediting agencies; primarily, they accredit managed care companies and other insurance payors. Delegated credentialing is the process by which these companies contract to accept the credentialing work of Medical Staff Services, and in turn, audit files annually to assure compliance with their regulations and standards. Regulations for NCQA and URAC are similar to, but not the same as, those for The Joint Commission or NIAHO's Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and require more specific processes, documentation, and time frames to be compliant.

Medical Staff Services has altered some of its processes as regulations change to accommodate the flow of credentialing required by the U.U.M.A.S. payor agreements. For instance, it is common practice for Credentials Committees to recommend a provider contingent upon a NYS license being issued; that process is not compliant with delegated credentialing or DNV regulations. Additional steps in the process are also required, such as initialing, dating, and tracking all documentation received, recording all changes to the provider file data, etc.

How does delegated credentialing benefit the clinical department?

U.U.M.A.S. (Upstate University Medical Associates of Syracuse, Inc.) contracts with Medical Staff Services to achieve delegated credentialing with over a dozen insurance companies or networks. Through delegated credentialing, the payor accepts Upstate University Hospital's credentialing process and primary source verification as a substitute for doing this work through the payor's credentialing office. Following the approval process for credentialing and privileging, and once U.U.M.A.S. declares the provider credentialed by submitting an updated spreadsheet to the payors, that provider can begin seeing and billing patients. The U.U.M.A.S. central office with the significant support of Medical Staff Services has actively pursued the achievement of delegated credentialing agreements with third party payors. An agreement is first reviewed by the U.M.A.S. office, then reviewed by the Medical Staff Services Director, after which contractual changes are made.

This collaborative project has enhanced some of the data and information in the provider files. This strong relationship also provided the basis of our successful transition to NPI that served both hospital and physician billing functions.

What is the cost of not delegating?

Insurance companies in NYS are allowed 90 days to process a "clean" provider application. This time frame, compounded with too many experiences of "lost" or misplaced applications and packets by the payors, means that the actual time it takes for a provider to be able to see a patient, and bill and get paid for the visit, can extend to many months. The negative impact on revenue is clear. There is one exception: for many plans, certain specific providers [i.e.: Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology (except Pain management), Pathology, etc.] may not require separate credentialing to work in a hospital as they are considered 'hospital-based providers', and therefore, the hospital credentialing suffices.

Do I need a Faculty Appointment?

If you will be working as a physician, dentist, or podiatrist at the Downtown campus, or will be working with post-graduate trainees at any location, you will need a Faculty Appointment. Please talk with the College of Medicine Chair, or follow the link to the left labeled "Faculty Appointment".

Can I use the title 'MD'?

You must use the title you earned when completing your medical education (MD, DO, MBBS, MBBA, etc). However, the New York State Board of Regents may confer the MD degree on licensees who meet specific requirements, as listed on their website External Icon. If you have received this conferral, you may use MD after your name in place of the title you earned at graduation. However, it is not required that you obtain a conferral of MD in order to practice at Upstate University Hospital; we accept physicians with a variety of titles who are licensed in New York State.

Can working as a resident at Upstate University Hospital, or hiring an Upstate University Hospital resident, speed up the credentialing and privileging processes?

For residents, Graduate Medical Education (GME) asks for a copy of the diploma, an official transcript, and if the Resident is a foreign medical graduate, GME requests the original ECFMG (Education Certificate of Foreign Medical Graduate) certificate. Human Resources (HR) collects the I-9, employment application, security form, and data sheet, then does the data entry and other activities to get the person hired here.

No one does primary source verification when a residency is begun here, and thus, no credentialing work that could speed up the Medical Staff credentialing or privileging processes is completed at that time. Hiring a UUH resident may be slightly faster because Medical Staff Services can get a verification response from our GME office and corresponding data regarding resident credentials more quickly.

Does Medical Staff Services use ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certification in place of outside of the United States verification?

ECFMG certification is only deemed primary source verification for foreign medical graduates who graduated after 1986. ECFMG does not verify graduation prior to that, and does not verify postgraduate training or work experience from outside the United States.

Why does Medical Staff Services ask for data or information specific to privileges requested?

Board certification, if not within the past year, is not deemed sufficient documentation of current competence, recent training, how often the procedure is performed by the provider, or when the provider last performed the procedure. For certain specific procedures, Medical Staff Services asks for case logs, letters from recent Chairs or program directors, or other proof of recent / current competence, before the requested privileges are granted. The information provided is reviewed by the clinical chief of service or designee, and by the medical staff committees at initial or re- application.

Why does Medical Staff Services need a credentialing and privileging application completed?

There are questions and information requested on the application that a CV does not answer, and that are not addressed in the hiring process. In addition, some of the questions and information requested on the application meet specific requirements of regulatory agencies such as the New York State Department of Health, NIAHOs' DNV, National Committee for Quality Assurance, or URAC.

Why doesn't University Hospital have a single application for hiring, faculty appointment and membership on the medical staff?

Not all applicants are employed, nor do all desire appointment to the Faculty at the College of Medicine, or College of Nursing. Beyond that, each entity is looking for different information to meet specific requirements.

What can the applicant/department do to move the process forward?

The best thing the applicant can do is to provide a completed application with accurate contact information including fax numbers, addresses, names, and e-mail addresses.

The applicant should also practice a policy of full disclosure; if negative or possibly negative information is found and not disclosed, the process slows down quite a bit while Medical Staff Services does some investigating. Not providing complete information can completely halt the process, and ultimately may result in a recommendation for denial of appointment.

When the practitioner receives correspondence, whether via e-mail or hard copy, listing what is still needed, returning those items to Medical Staff Services promptly will help assure fewer delays in the credentialing process; originals are not needed and it is fastest to respond via fax or e-mail. Promptly call the assigned Credentialing Coordinator with questions about the items on the list.

If necessary, start the faculty appointment process simultaneously with the Medical Staff Services credentialing process. Once the practitioner is reviewed by the Credentials Committee, and recommended for approval to the Medical Executive Committee, the Faculty Appointments Specialist can move the faculty appointment to its conclusion. Faculty Appointments that are not started ahead of time are one of the top three reasons for a credentialing delay.

Finally, if you call your references and prior post-graduate training or affiliates to request that they respond to our letters, faxes, or e-mails, this often speeds up the response time from those facilities. Delayed responses are the number one cause of delays in credentialing.

For the fastest processing, Medical Staff Services recommends:

  • Complete the entire credentialing application, truthfully. Be sure to include all other names under which you have been identified.
  • Send the application, along with any of the documents you have as soon as possible; at least 13 weeks ahead of time*. (However, do not wait until your NY state license or DEA are issued)
  • Look at your e-mail daily; coordinators communicate primarily through e-mail to reduce processing times.
  • Submit a complete packet for your license application to the New York State licensing board (or education board) and FCVS paperwork, if applicable; sending these in piecemeal often causes significant delays when documents are lost, don't arrive, or are incomplete.
  • Start the Faculty Appointment process (if needed) concurrent with the Medical Staff application.
  • Contact your references and prior affiliations / places of employment. Let them know that Upstate University Hospital's Medical Staff Services will be getting in touch, and ask them to respond as quickly as possible.
  • If you are asked for documentation for specific privileges you have requested, return the information as soon as possible (this may include training logs, case logs, letters of competence, certifications, or other documentation appropriate to the requested privilege). Your assigned coordinator can assist you in determining what is needed.
  • Contact the assigned coordinator directly with questions - he or she will have the most updated, complete idea of what is still outstanding and where your application is in the process.
*Allows 10 weeks for credentialing, 2 weeks for committee review, and 1 week for governing body approval, faculty and medical staff appointment letters to be issued, and all computer systems to be activated.

Can I get my DEA fee paid for or reimbursed?

Per Federal Law, a Federal, State or Local Government employee is exempted from the DEA application fee when utilizing the DEA prescriptive privileges within the scope of his/her employment within the hospital or institution. A DEA obtained with a waiver is not able to be used for prescriptive privileges outside employment within the hospital or institution. Practitioners treating patients other than within Upstate University Hospital will need either a second DEA, or should forego the waiver process in favor of paying the DEA application fee. If you believe that you qualify for an exemption, and you prescribe only within Upstate University Hospital, please call Medical Staff Services for information on obtaining the exemption when you are renewing your DEA.

Exemption for DEA fees cannot be applied retrospectively. The hospital, nursing department, and medical staff do not provide reimbursement for DEA fees for credentialed providers.