News | February 28, 2008

Nearly 9 Percent of U.S. Clinicians Working With Invalid Licenses

February 29, 2008 - Results of a study examining the credentials of 9,597 physicians, nurses and ancillary personnel practicing in 24 healthcare organizations including hospitals, surgery centers and health plans, show nearly 9 percent of the defined group were practicing with one or more of 52 questionable issues regarding their credentials, according to Medversant Technologies.

Medversant, a provider of Web-based healthcare practitioner management applications, said the findings are derived from a 10-month period from January-November 2007 and representing healthcare organizations primarily in CA, TX, LA, TN, KY and IL.

The study reviewed professional licensing of 24 healthcare organizations using Medversant’s OneSource technology, which reportedly provides continuous Web-based technology to monitor the licenses and background information of physicians, nurses, therapists, and other medical providers. OneSource is an automated process that taps all major databases in real time including state license boards, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Technical Information Service (NTIS) and the Excluded Providers Listing Service (EPLS).

According to Medversant CEO Matthew Haddad, most medical facilities update practitioner credentials only once every two or three years, a practice that can allow for improperly credentialed professionals to go undetected for long periods of time.

“In fact, Medversant recently issued a health alert to the industry following a Medicare investigation that uncovered the fact that numerousfraudulent medical professionals were working in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities,” said Haddad. “This fact poses a serious threat to patient care and can also negatively impact reimbursement for services - sending a dismal reality check for hospital and health care administrators. Furthermore, when unlicensed providers deliver care with less than optimal outcomes, the potential for expensive litigation is very significant.”

Citing the need for objectivity as well as speed in verifying credentials, Haddad cited a recent survey conducted by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession. Published in the online edition of Modern Physician (12/03/07), the report shows that nearly half of the 1,662 primary care and specialty physicians questioned said they did not always report incompetent colleagues (45 percent) or medical errors (46 percent) when these came to their attention.

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