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CONTACT: TOM MOORE
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-3945
e-mail: thomas-moore@uiowa.edu

Release: July 24, 2000

UI providing service to check credentials of medical professionals

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Have you heard horror stories about impostors who pose as health care practitioners? Such reports raise a serious question: How can you be sure that the person who is treating you and your loved ones is a qualified, medical professional?

The University of Iowa Clinical Staff Office (UI CSO) provides a service that checks the credentials of medical professionals and confirms they are qualified to seek and/or maintain privileges or participate with managed care plans. The UI CSO is a credentialing verification organization (CVO) that has been surveyed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). As a result, the UI CSO is now certified by NCQA for 10 out of 10 credentialing elements.

This designation means that the UI CSO is compliant with NCQA standards that verify a medical professional's credentials and determine if that person has successfully fulfilled the licensure, certification, education and training requirements for his or her position.

"For example, CSO staff verify a practitioner's license to practice, as well as the practitioner's hospital privileges, malpractice insurance coverage, and board certification status," said Peggy Wilkinson, administrator of the UI CSO. "Staff also determine if a practitioner has ever received licensure or Medicare/Medicaid sanctions, has any malpractice claim history or felony convictions, and has proper registration with required governmental agencies for writing prescriptions."

NCQA is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies CVOs and accredits managed care organizations.

"The process that is required to become an NCQA-compliant credentialing verification organization is very rigorous," said Cynthia Geyer, the clinical affairs coordinator in the UI College of Medicine who provides legal and policy advice to the UI CSO. "It is a true honor to receive the NCQA certification for the credentialing elements and a tribute to the skill and dedication of the hard-working staff in the UI Clinical Staff Office."

Geyer also credits UI CSO director, Michael G. Kienzle, MD, associate dean for clinical affairs and biomedical communications in the UI College of Medicine, for the excellent support and guidance he has provided in the development of the office.

The UI CSO provides credentialing verification services for the UI’s academic medical center, an acute care area hospital, managed care organizations (MCOs) and physician hospital organizations (PHOs).

"The staff thoroughly verifies a health care professional's credentials and assists the practitioner, and any facilities, groups, or health care plans he or she is part of, in providing evidence of verified credentials to avoid needless duplicative efforts," Wilkinson said. "We are pleased to be able to offer our credentialing verification services to other health care organizations and to be working closely with licensing and regulatory agencies to ensure that people are being treated by qualified professionals."

The UI CSO underwent an on-site survey last April, resulting in the NCQA certification which is current and in good standing until June of 2002. For more information about the UI CSO's credentialing verification services, call (319) 335-7489.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.