ABPS Acknowledges Contributions of MSPs to Healthcare Leadership in America
For many of us here in the United States, a hospital visit comes with the expectation that we’ll receive appropriate medical care from qualified professionals. While some aspects of the American health care system continue to be debated – drug and insurance costs, for example – the high quality of our medical care is generally beyond dispute. Excellence doesn’t reveal itself through happenstance, however. To deliver consistently outstanding care, medical professionals must undergo years of education and rigorous training and then expand their knowledge and skills through comprehensive experience. And their credentials, of course, must be verified. In hospitals and other medical facilities across the country, the people who perform this necessary work are medical service professionals.
MSPs maintain databanks to track physician training, experience, and licensure, in addition to managing accredited continuing medical education programs that help doctors maintain clinical competency. In effect, MSPs work behind the scenes as a medical facility’s gatekeepers.
In 1992, President George Bush proclaimed the first week in November as National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week. Since then, government agencies and medical facilities across the country have all promoted awareness of medical services professionals.
Of course, health care has evolved since 1992, and MSPs are performing more diverse roles within organizations. Argelis White, a medical staff director at South Bay Hospital in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida, has seen the changes firsthand.
“Before, the medical staff professional was more clerical and administrative in their everyday duties, but their role has changed in recent years to meet the demands of the industry,” she said. “Our role now involves more responsibilities. For instance, we now collaborate with more departments, including HR, and, consequently, we play an important part in maintaining hospital quality.”
For Eileen Pagano, a medical staff affairs manager at Saint Clare’s Health System in Denville, NJ, additional responsibilities make the MSP role more challenging. “We have been given additional responsibilities with no additional resources,” she said. “We are constantly under pressure to get people credentialed faster and share information with other sister sites. Every facility has a slightly different process, and we are not always able to accept primary source verifications form our sister sites, which is not always acceptable to the Administration.”
White traces the deepening complexity of the MSP role to the medical industry’s switch from paper to electronic record keeping. One conventional belief is that this evolution made the job of MSPs easier, but in White’s view, it also led to the current state of affairs. “For example,” White said, since electronic systems came to the fore “some hospitals have reduced the number of personnel who work in a managed services organization office. As a result, MSPs must now coordinate the onboarding of medical staff, oversee credentialing, act as a liaison between the hospital and medical staff, and perform a number of other duties.”
With increasing job complexity comes a rising demand for higher levels of training and education among MSPs. “We are seeing more job descriptions requesting a bachelor’s or master’s degree for a director position as well as CPCS (Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist) and CPMSM (Certified Professional Medical Services Management) certification,” White said. “For coordinator positions, organizations are also now requesting an associate degree and certification. It’s more competitive now compared to years ago when only experience was required or hospitals were willing to train you.”
The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) joins the rest of the American healthcare community in recognizing the vital role MSPs play in monitoring the competence of physicians and other medical practitioners. As a nationally recognized choice for physician certification, the ABPS contributes to exceptional medical care by offering licensed allopathic and osteopathic physicians board certification in a range of specialties.