May 18, 2017

QUESTION:        A registrant at our Complete Course for Medical Staff Leaders in New Orleans two weeks ago asked:

Appreciated the suggestion in the case study to hold an application incomplete if there remain questions and concerns, but couldn’t the Credentials Chair or another physician leader suggest that an applicant withdraw the application?

ANSWER:           They could.  However, such a suggestion must be done with care. Suggesting that an applicant withdraw could invite a contention from an applicant’s lawyer that leaders are attempting to talk an applicant out of a “right” to a hearing.  That’s not the case if there has not been a recommendation for “denial,” but dealing with the contention could consume valuable resources.  Instead of appearing to push the applicant to withdraw, it may be better to present the physician with the potential consequences of the options, including withdrawal, appealing a denial recommendation, or allowing the application to remain incomplete.  It is a best practice to have a framework of clear language in the bylaws or credentialing policy (premised on the applicant’s burden), that incomplete applications will not be processed; and any application that remains incomplete after information has been requested, and not fully provided after a stated period of time (30, 45 or 60 days), will be deemed to be withdrawn.  It is easier for someone to simply wait for the expiration of the time period than to have to formally write a letter of withdrawal.  If your documents don’t have that language, you can still use this technique by stating a time period in the letters posing questions and requesting information.  Add additional language to guide future credentialers, next time revisions are considered!