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QUESTION: What do you recommend for the composition of the Credentials Committee and the terms for service for the members?
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ANSWER: A Credentials Committee is best composed of experienced leaders, such as past chiefs of staff or other physicians who have had medical staff leadership experience. Many Medical Staffs have representation from a variety of specialties to ensure that the committee has the expertise necessary to address difficult credentialing and privileging issues. With the increasing number of advanced practice clinicians (e.g., nurse practitioners and physician assistants) providing services in hospitals, more and more Medical Staffs are appointing at least one advanced practice clinician to the Credentials Committee as a voting member and for that individual’s input and expertise on the topic of credentialing and privileging these providers.
Service on the Credentials Committee should be the primary medical staff obligation of the members and terms should be at least three years so that committee members have an opportunity to gain some experience and expertise in credentialing. The terms should also be staggered so that there is always a repository of expertise on the committee. This Credentials Committee’s primary responsibility is to review and make recommendations on applications for medical staff appointment and clinical privileges. It can also oversee the development of threshold eligibility criteria for clinical privileges.