Form a dedicated committee to credential nonphysician practitioners
The number of nonphysician practitioners applying for privileges at hospitals today is growing rapidly. In some places, the applications from nonphysicians regularly outpace those from doctors. Fashioning a dedicated committee (or subcommittee) to evaluate the credentials of nonphysician practitioners allows multiple initial review committees to share the workload of assessing applications. The composition of such committees can include a large number of individuals with expertise in nonphysician clinical roles, including the following:
- Advanced practice registered nurses
- Certified registered nurse anesthetists
- Physician assistants
Since the education, training, and practice of nonphysician practitioners is very different from that of doctors, it is especially helpful to have a credentials committee with this type of expertise represented.
Where instated, an allied health credentials committee should enforce the same rigor for applicant review as the full medical staff credentials committee does. Creating two different processes for credentialing can lead to inadequate scrutiny of nonphysician practitioners. Unfortunately, the hospital can be found just as liable for negligent credentialing of nonphysician practitioners as it can be for doctors.