Arizona Healthcare Groups Commend House Passage of Bill to Streamline Physician Credentialing / by Joe Furia

The Arizona House of Representatives today passed with bipartisan support legislation to streamline and accelerate the process through which qualified physicians are credentialed and authorized to provide care for patients on insurance plans. The bill, HB 2322, was approved unanimously.

“On behalf of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) and our members, I applaud the legislators who came together to support this important measure,” said AzHHA President and CEO Greg Vigdor. “A special ‘thank you’ is due to the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Heather Carter, whose leadership was vital in getting this legislation through the House.” 

Physician credentialing is a complex process done by insurance companies that, in its simplest terms, involves a) verifying that doctors are qualified to treat their members, and b) loading said doctors into their billing system so they can get paid. This is a necessary process that ensures only qualified doctors are administering care and treatment to insurers’ members.

Unfortunately, numerous hospitals and healthcare providers agree that credentialing in Arizona has become increasingly arduous, frustrating and expensive. For example, several hospitals have reported that some insurers take 90 days or longer to complete the process in more than 40 percent of cases. Some doctors and hospitals even report having to wait eight months or more to receive credentialing. These delays are not only costly to physicians, hospitals and the state – they are also probative to efficient, effective patient care.

“Arizonans’ access to care is compromised when it takes an excessive amount of time to credential physicians,” said Arizona Medical Association Executive Vice President Libby McDannell. “This legislation ensures doctors are putting patients, not paperwork, first.”

“We are grateful to the legislators, stakeholders and fellow healthcare community leaders who came together to address this issue and come up with a workable, necessary solution,” said Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association Executive Director Pete Wertheim. “This bill will provide insurers ample, reasonable time to credential physicians and allow them to get to work doing what they do best: caring for patients.”

HB 2322 addresses this issue by establishing new procedures and timelines for physician credentialing. Specifically, it requires insurers to approve or deny credentials and load approved providers into their billing system within 100 days.

“The legislation passed today is the product of a months-long collaborative effort between AzHHA, the Arizona Medical Association, the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, the Health System Alliance of Arizona and the majority of Arizona's health insurers,” added AzHHA President and CEO Greg Vigdor. “I look forward to our continued partnership as this important bill makes its way through the legislature and one step closer to the Governor’s desk.”

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