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UNC Health Care recently began using the credentialing services of the new Central Credentialing Office (CCO), led by director Linda Waldorf, who came to UNC Health Care from Johns Hopkins in 2013.

The new office was developed as a way to improve efficiency and create a uniform process throughout the UNC Health Care system for credentialing providers.

“It sets one common standard for credentialing that can be used across the system,” said Dr. Tony Lindsey, Chief Medical Officer at UNC Hospitals.

As UNC Health Care continues to work together with the common goal of providing quality care to the citizens of North Carolina, physicians will increasingly seek privileges at other system locations. Previously, physicians applying for privileges at multiple system affiliates were required to complete multiple applications. With the CCO, one application and verification of credentials is needed.

“It simplifies things for everyone, including our providers, if one office, using one standard to verify our providers’ credentials, processes requests,” said Dr. Lindsey. “We have physicians in our system who have had their credentialing performed by four different system entities, which means the work was performed four times. The CCO greatly improves our efficiency, and that is a primary reason for doing this.”

The launching of the new CCO and the ease with which physicians will be able to have their credentials processed will improve accessibility of services for patients throughout North Carolina.

“We anticipate more integration of our medical staff, particularly where it’s geographically possible,” said Dr. Lindsey. “There are entities in the system that don’t have certain specialties. Improving the process by which providers can gain privileges will help fulfill some of these unmet needs.”

The decision to grant privileges will remain with the affiliates. After the credentialing process is complete, each individual institution will make the decision about whether to appoint the provider to the medical staff and to allow specific practice privileges as defined by that particular institution.

“The goal is to maintain local control of privileging,” said Dr. Lindsey. “Each system entity will grant the specific patient care privileges for each provider.”

According to Dr. Allen Daugird, President of UNC Faculty Physicians, local control will be made that much easier by the central verification process. “The CCO will have confirmed credentials already, leaving committees at the individual entities to simply say yes or no,” said Dr. Daugird. “They don’t have to do the credentialing. It’s so much easier for our doctors, and at the same time it’s less expensive, in aggregate, for credentialing for all of our UNC entities.”

With several affiliates already using the CCO’s services, it won’t be long before the remaining affiliates join them. Rex began working with the CCO around the time of its Go-Live, and the hope is to have all system entities utilizing the CCO by the end of the calendar year, as they incorporate the software necessary for ensuring accuracy and standardization from physician cohorts.

“It’s important that we do this in a sustained, joint way,” said Dr. Lindsey. “This is a service to make things more efficient as we become a larger system. It takes away some of the administrative burden from providers from doing multiple applications and it standardizes credentialing for the commercial insurers, which they require.”