NAMSS’ President, Connie Riedel; Industry & Government Relations Chair, Nancy Lian; and the Government Relations team are keeping busy this year with various meetings and discussions with industry and government leaders to advance NAMSS’ strategic plan. We’d like to take a moment to tell you about some of our latest initiatives.
As you may know, Senator Tom Udall plans to introduce a bill, “Increasing Telehealth and Access to Care through Streamlining Licensing and Credentialing Portability Act.” This legislation tackles both licensing and credentialing inefficiencies by establishing a national licensing body and a credentialing data-exchange system for primary source-verified data.
The bill makes great strides simply by recognizing the current inefficiencies within the licensing and credentialing processes, but taking on both issues in one bill is difficult.
Creating a federal license could, in theory, increase efficiencies for telehealth providers, but the draft bill goes beyond these providers and offers the licensure for all practitioners. There are many complex issues, such as creating a national scope of practice, which would be extremely difficult to establish a consensus among all stakeholders.
We are also concerned with the bill's ambiguity regarding critical issues such as jurisdiction and the ability to sanction providers. While we appreciate that this is not the intent, NAMSS is concerned that these issues could undermine patient safety.
Credentialing, as you know, goes much further than licensure and could benefit from the government evaluating the current process. Assessing the significant resources that the current process requires could help MSPs better focus on ensuring that medical staffs are qualified to provide high quality services. The data-exchange idea contained in the Senator’s draft bill is a good start.
We have discussed this with Senator Udall’s staff over the past several months and will continue to work with his office on these efforts.
HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator
We also recently met with Jodi Daniel, Director of Policy and Planning, as well as other members of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), to discuss our mutual goal to update and modernize the healthcare system. We shared our vision for improving the credentialing process and provided insight into the system’s current inefficiencies. We certainly put credentialing on ONC’s radar and we look forward to continuing to make strides in improving the system.