Historically, the medical staff services department (MSSD) has operated behind the scenes in healthcare organizations, with few hospital workers outside the department fully understanding the extent of its responsibilities. However, the MSSD is truly the nucleus of the hospital, as it is responsible for everything from credentialing and privileging practitioners and meeting pertinent accreditation requirements to playing a critical role in information management and interactions between hospital leaders, physicians, board members and other key stakeholders.
Increasingly, the MSSD’s ability to successfully manage and execute its duties directly impact hospital revenue, cost, quality, compliance and physician satisfaction. As hospitals and health systems prepare to adopt value-based and population health-oriented systems of care, the stakes of these outcomes are higher than ever before.
“In today’s world, the MSSD must propel its medical staff leaders into achieving a more accountable medical staff and expand their focus beyond credentialing and compliance,” says Sally J. Pelletier, CPMSM, CPCS, advisory consultant and chief credentialing officer at the Greeley Company, a healthcare consulting and professional services firm. “They must become a part of the solution for improving quality while reducing costs.”
The foundation of how to effectively manage the MSSD’s various functions is embedded in the construction, implementation and maintenance of governance documents and associated policies and procedures, according to Ms. Pelletier. Unfortunately, many hospitals’ internal MSSDs are ill-equipped — either understaffed or lacking necessary skill sets — to handle such responsibilities.
One solution for healthcare organizations with struggling MSSDs is outsourcing its functions to a specialty service company. According to The Greeley Company’s research, outsourcing the MSSD can be an effective strategy for hospitals and health systems seeking to control spending while preparing for significant changes in their practitioner relationships, such as a growing number of employed physicians, an increasing number of advanced practice professionals or a shift to global contracting.
The above excerpt is from a recently published Becker’s Hospital Review Executive Briefing, Outsourcing As A Solution to Your Credentialing Woes, for which Ms. Pelletier was interviewed.