Physician References: How to Overcome Delays

Physician References: How to Overcome Delays

Healthcare providers are fully aware of the many “hick ups” that can occur during the privileging process. One of the more frequent challenges encountered is obtaining references from one’s peers.  The simple request to complete a reference form and return it, can turn into a full-fledged man hunt! 

There are several factors that can cause this process to not only be time consuming but, in some cases, bring the privileging process to a screeching halt. I have witnessed the absence of a single peer reference cause a provider to be denied privileging at the last minute, preventing them from starting as scheduled and leaving the facility without coverage. 

The most common reason for a reference to be delayed or not returned is due to confusion on the part of the peer receiving the request.  This confusion is caused by the peer receiving several different reference forms at the same time. Here’s a scenario of a peer reference’s email box being saturated with reference requests: 

Hospital A sends 3 requests, Hospital B sends 3 requests, and then the locum company’s referencing coordinator (who is assisting Hospital A and B) sends 3 more emails reminding them to please return the forms.

The recipient now has a total of 9 plus emails for only 3 actual reference forms. This is both confusing and may agitate the provider as well, causing delays in the process.

The BEST and most efficient way to combat any possible referencing delays is to make all involved parties aware up front that reference requests are being initiated. The person receiving the peer reference for should be aware of who will be sending them in the form and where and when it should be returned. By contacting your references in advance, you can confirm that they are available to complete the form in the time frame allotted by the facility and start the process in a positive way. The last thing anyone needs in the 23rd hour is to learn that a peer reference is on a cruise in the Bahamas without access to a fax or email.

In the world of referencing, over-communication and follow-through is the key to a smooth and successful privileging process. Communication up front with your references can save you a big head ache in the end.  

“It comes down to basic communication and setting expectations.” – Brian Waters

 

Article written by:
Kevin Lunsford
Quality Assurnace, Onyx M.D.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.




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