Education Conferences – It’s (Mostly) About the Networking

Do you enjoy attending education conferences, or do you prefer getting information on health care trends from books and journal articles?

Whether the focus of your educational needs is clinical or administrative, conferences offer one benefit that other resources do not; networking.

Through my experience of both attending and planning conference programs I’ve come to appreciate how much work they are to put together and execute, and how truly beneficial they can be.  Most of that benefit is directly connected to networking opportunities.  I’ve had fascinating conversations over morning coffee, or with the stranger sitting next to me.  (Although I promise I don’t chat during the sessions – people who do are one of my pet peeves!  Shush – we didn’t come all this way to listen to you!)

While I’ve attended a few “Wow!” sessions over the years, most of the really thought-provoking ideas I’ve taken home have come from fellow attendees.  My advice?  Don’t be shy!  Take advantage of the phenomenal amount of education and experience that surrounds you at conferences.  Most people are more than willing to share their expertise in the casual “let’s chat over lunch” atmosphere that exists in these settings.

My second tip; as you’re collecting business cards from all those interesting folks, take a moment to jot something about them on the back, otherwise you get home with a fist full of business cards and no idea what you talked about with most of the people they represent.  Definitely a lost opportunity for further networking.

I will soon be attending my first-ever Estes Park Institute Conference and I can hardly wait.  Colleagues who have attended these programs have assured me that they are well worth the investment.  If you happen to attend the same program I do, be forewarned; I plan to ask a lot of questions – and only some of them will be directed to the speakers…

Doctors’ Day – March 30, 2008

Sunday March 30th is Doctors’ Day.  A gift may be in order, some of the ideas I’ve seen are more traditional than others.

But I suspect that most doctors don’t particularly need another coffee mug.  I suspect that more than a gift, most doctors, like most of the rest of us, would simply like a bit of acknowledgment for the good work they do and a sincere thank you.

So thanks.  And Happy Doctors’ Day.

History of Doctors’ Day

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Ga. The idea came from Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Cha Almond, and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery. (On March 30, 1842, Dr. Crawford Long of Barrow County, Ga., used ether to remove a tumor from a patient’s neck.)

The United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day on March 30, 1958. In 1990, legislation was introduced into the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate to establish a National Doctors Day. Following overwhelming approval by the House and Senate, then-President George Bush signed a resolution proclaiming March 30 as National Doctors’ Day.

School For New Medical Credentialers Developed by Edge-U-Cate

Article provided by Edge-U-Cate, LLC of Colorado Springs, CO

Negligent credentialing cases are on the rise. Demands for qualified credentialers are greater than the supply. What do these two statements have in common?

Today, more than ever, healthcare organization’s credentialing practices are under scrutiny. Typically, when a malpractice case is filed against a hospital and the treating physician/s, one of the first requests by plaintiffs’ attorneys is for access to the credentials file (not very successful, but it has happened). Also requested are the medical staff bylaws, policies, etc. that define the credentialing process, the privileges held by the practitioner, what criteria is defined, and whether or not the practitioner met the criteria. From this information, the plaintiffs’ attorneys often add a suit against the healthcare organization for negligent credentialing if it is determined the hospital did not follow its procedures in allowing the practitioner to provide patient care.

While credentialing and privileging decisions are the ultimate responsibility of the Medical Staff and Governing Body, each group relies heavily on the trained Credentialing Specialist or Medical Staff Services Professional to conduct a thorough search of the practitioner’s background, training, experience and competence so an informed decision can be made about the applicant. Trained, experienced, certified Credentialing Specialists and Medical Staff Services Professionals know what to look for, where to obtain the information, how to analyze data for “red flags”, and help the organization follow its processes to make good, sound decisions affecting the provision of patient care. These professionals are a significant asset to their organization and in high demand. Unfortunately, the demand for these qualified individuals far exceeds the supply. Due to this shortage, many hospitals have no alternative but to hire individuals with little or no previous training or experience. Frequently there is no one within the organization that is knowledgeable enough about the processes to provide the new hire with the necessary training.

How serious are the consequences of having inexperienced individuals in charge of and/or responsible for managing the medical staff credentialing process? The hospital counts on its medical staff professional/s to know what the rules are and to make the process work successfully. If not, the consequences can be devastating – to the patient, to the physicians, to the organization, to the community – and costly. Credentialing is serious business, and education is key to effective, quality credentialing.

As a credentialing specialist or medical staff services professional, you know the importance of having someone who is knowledgeable about the credentialing process. Be sure to build in education for all your staff (and yourself) so that your organization can be confident that the people they have hired to manage the credentialing and privileging process know what they’re doing, do a good job, and can defend the process in court should the negligent credentialing lawsuit end up in your organization.

For further information on the first ever Credentialing School for new credentialers and those who need to brush up on their basic, day to day skills go to This 5-day intensive class has been approved by NAMSS for 38 CEUs, and is being offered nationally every ninety days in various locations.

Leadership by Flynn

“People, in general, are smart, hardworking, experienced, want to do the right thing and more capable than most companies give them credit for. The best way to develop people is to give them responsibility, and they will sort of develop themselves.”

I came across an August 2007 issue of Smart Business Cleveland the other day, and read that great quote from Greg Flynn, CEO of Apple American Group, LLC, and owner of a number of Applebee’s Restaurants.

Other bits of advice from Mr. Flynn included, “You can’t succeed if you punish people for taking risks that you encourage them to take.”

“Have a vision, which is where you want to be in the future, and a good plan for getting there.  Have that clearly communicated so everyone’s pulling toward that vision in every action, every day.”

Easier said than done, but then no one says leadership is a simple task.


NAMSS Increases Education Requirements For Dual Certificants

The National Association Medical Staff Services has announced new Continuing Education requirements for dual certificants. 

Beginning with the 2010 recertification cycle, individuals holding both the Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) and Certified Professional Medical Services Management (CPMSM) certification will be required to obtain 45 CE credits for recertification, of which 25 must be NAMSS approved.

Letting Go of Unrealistic Workplace Expectations

I’m doing research on professional communication and composure for a presentation I’m giving in a few weeks.  Here is a point to consider if you find yourself angry and frustrated about some aspect of your job.

Put a group of people together to work on the same project and conflict is inevitable. Disagreements don’t necessarily mean that anyone is wrong, and certainly don’t have to mean that anyone has failed. How we choose to handle difficulties that arise reveals a great deal about who we are.

If we go to work expecting to receive appreciation, gratitude and respect for a job well done, we’ll find ourselves feeling angry and disappointed if we don’t receive those responses. We feel angry when people fail to give us what we expect of them. 

If you’re in that situation, remember that your employer isn’t obligated to be kind, appreciative, and supportive.  Your employer is obligated to pay you an agreed-upon salary and abide by applicable labor laws.  Period.  Therefore, although we might enjoy working in in an appreciative, supportive, atmosphere, we have no right to expect it.

That may sound harsh, but in reality it’s liberating.  Acknowledging this fact frees us from unrealistic work-place expectations, and reminds us that in the end, it’s not about “them” it’s about “us.”

We can choose to be hard workers, kind people, and honorable human beings because that’s who we choose to be.  And that choice is within our control.

How Does The Office of Risk Management Help Your Hospital?

What does Hospital Risk Management do?  Well, that depends on who you ask.

Every organization assigns different responsibilities to Risk Management.  Much like Medical/Professional Staff Offices, the roles can vary considerably from organization to organization.

The Yale School of Medicine / Yale New Haven Hospital posts the following about the goals of its Office of Risk Management:

Offices of Risk Management are concerned with a wide range of issues, however the overall goal is improvement of the quality of care and to eliminate or minimize the number of accidents with an eye towards claims prevention.

Goals of the Yale New Haven Hospital Office of Risk Management: 

1. Decrease severity and number of patient and visitor injuries by:

  • receiving and reviewing incident and occurrence reports, as well as patient/visitor complaints.
  • working closely with quality assurance/improvement committees.
  • periodically reviewing credentialing procedures.
  • being involved in the education of medical staff and employees via grand rounds, inservices and other venues.

2. Assure that documentation of care is adequate by:

  • working closely with medical record committee.
  • educating medical staff and employees.

3. Limit financial loss related to clinical care and provide a mechanism to deal fairly with issues related to claims from adverse outcomes in clinical care. The office: 

  • investigates professional liability claims (i.e., malpractice) and negotiates fair resolution.
  • manages certain insurance policies which have been secured by the hospital and its employees.

Whether or not you have an interest in the field, most would agree that these goals provide value, both to the organization and to it’s patients.

I personally liked the YNH statement because limiting financial loss was included last.  Not because it isn’t important, but because taking care of items one and two will help item number three take care of itself, and help keep patients safer in the process.