COVID-19 and Credentialing Verification Services: Activated Emergency Protocol

On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Hospitals—public and private—are inundated with patients, prompting an immediate need for healthcare professionals under activated disaster protocols. Directly impacted by these protocols are credentialing requirements designed to ensure fast access to qualified healthcare professionals.

In comparison:

Non-emergency protocols: 

-Privileging application, supporting documents, full primary source verification credentialing, review, and approval

-Time to access: 60–90 days

Emergency protocols:

-Significantly trimmed privileging application, photo ID, current license to practice within scope of education and training

-Time to access: Immediate; credentialing within 72 hours

In the State of New York, FEMA/HHS has developed an online portal to centralize intake and processing of qualified volunteer healthcare professionals. The administrative burden on facilities may require expert assistance to provide a complete credentialing product in compliance with emergency protocols within 72 hours of receipt of the request via the FEMA/HHS portal.

This would include:

Portal functionality-intake

    • Photo ID—A valid government-issued photo identification (e.g., driver’s license or Passport)
    • Practitioner tagged as temporary privilege holder
    • Background check
    • Proposed flow—intake in portal triggers notification to third party, prompting primary source verification
    • State license verification
    • Malpractice history
    • Education/training
    • Peer references
    • Additional recommendation:
      • Facility-based emergency protocol: evaluate requirements and standardize across all facilities
      • All participating facilities
      • Other—as defined by facility—specific disaster plan

Facilities seeking assistance should pursue partnerships with leaders in providing enterprise solutions, including an NCQA-CR Accredited Credentialing platform that integrates via API, allowing for seamless, confidential exchange and processing of credentialed files with confidence.


Anna Arutyunyan

Vice President, CVO, Provider Management

Anna has extensive experience in the development and implementation of full-scope credentialing programs.


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