Initial Application Questions

Q: How far in advance of my start date should I begin the credentialing process?

A: Most healthcare organizations advise submitting an application 90 days before a practitioner’s start date.  The average processing time is less than 90 days. Ninety days is a benchmark because it allows extra time when verification sources do not respond in a timely manner or clarification of discrepancies is required.

Q: How long does it take a practitioner's application to go through the credentialing process?

A: Credentialing consists of two steps: 1) verification process performed by the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Medical Staff Services office; and 2) review of the verified application by the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Staff leadership and approval by the regional Board of Directors.

An application can be completed in less time if peer references and other verification sources promptly respond to Medical Staff Services requests for information, requested documentation is supplied by the applicant in a timely fashion and there are no issues identified in the application process that require further investigation.

Q: Why does credentialing take so long?

A: Offices such as ours that perform primary source (initiating sources; coming directly from the source issuing the credential) verification of credentialing applications have very little control over process time.  The process time is affected by verification sources (other hospitals, training programs, peer references, employers, etc.) responding to our requests for information.  

The verification process could be done in 2-3 weeks if all sources respond to first requests for information. If a response is not received, credentialing staff execute additional requests to sources. This causes a significant time delay in completing applications.

Q: Is there anything a practitioner can do to speed up the application process?

A: Yes! Practitioners can greatly influence the length of processing time by contacting their verification sources and asking each source to mail or fax PeaceHealth’s verification requests back as soon as possible.  

When we start processing an application, the practitioner and their credentialing contact receive a letter from our office listing of all verification sources from which we require responses.  We ask the practitioner or their credentialing contact to call the sources to prompt responses back to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. Responses can be faxed to our office at (360) 715-4134.

Q: What happens if the application submitted is incomplete or missing required attachments?

A: The Medical Staff Services office only processes complete applications. All incomplete applications are returned to the practitioner or clinic for completion; this creates a substantial delay in the practitioner credentialing process. Use the application checklist as a guide to identify what forms need to be submitted. See How to Submit an Application for detailed information.

Q: What is Primary Source Verification (PSV)?

A: PSV is the process of verifying credentials directly with the source. For example, a credentialing office cannot accept a copy of a medical school degree as evidence that the physician graduated from medical school.  The school must be contacted directly to verify the physician’s attendance and graduation.  

PSV is required so that hospitals and credentialing offices do not receive fraudulent documents from applicants or other non-primary sources. A credentialing office cannot accept any verification that comes through a third party rather than the primary source. PSV is a requirement by accrediting bodies as well as the cornerstone of a good credentialing process.

Q: How do I submit a credentialing application? 

A: Visit the How to Submit an Application page for detailed information.

Q: If I am already on staff at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, how do I request additional privileges?

A: Visit the Privilege Forms page for detailed information.