Credentialing & Privileging | 11.23.20
As Hospitals Close, NAMSS Provides MSPs Resources to Preserve Affiliation Data
The upward hospital-closure trend over the past few years, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, has left many localities without ready access to care facilities. Even before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March, the year 2020 was tracking to surpass the 2019 record for hospital closures. This year, closures — many a result of the pandemic — will continue to reduce patient access, create healthcare deserts, and put practitioner-affiliation data at risk.
NAMSS recognizes that MSP responsibilities during a hospital closure can be significant. Hospital closures can be sudden and require medical staff offices to execute procedures for preserving and storing practitioner data. MSPs also have the obligation to ensure this data is accessible to other MSPs once a hospital closes.
In August 2020, NAMSS launched its Hospital Closure Toolkit to help MSPs follow protocol to handle and preserve practitioner-affiliation data. The Toolkit provides guidance for closing a medical staff office, including resources and best practices for preserving practitioner-affiliation data. In part a proactive resource, the Toolkit also includes proactive steps all MSPs should take to ensure their institution’s bylaws provide a process for preserving medical staff data.
Complementary to the Hospital Closure Toolkit is NAMSS PASS, an online database for practitioner-affiliation data. NAMSS PASS enables MSPs to upload practitioner rosters and query practitioners as part of the affiliation gap-analysis process, free of charge.
A valuable resource for obtaining this data in regular times, NAMSS PASS proves critical during a hospital closure. MSPs can preserve their closing hospitals’ affiliation data by simply uploading their medical staff rosters to NAMSS PASS. Once uploaded, NAMSS PASS keeps a record of hospitals’ practitioner rosters and makes them accessible to all MSPs querying the database. Data lost during a hospital closure adds to MSPs’ ongoing challenge of identifying and filling affiliation gaps. NAMSS PASS can reduce the likelihood of affiliation gaps and can help preserve and make closed hospital affiliation data readily accessible.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, hospitals are simultaneously facing unprecedented patient surges and closing their doors due to resulting financial hardships. According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals in the United States will lose approximately $323 billion in 2020 due to reduced elective procedures and lower patient volumes. Patients are forgoing routine care and others are presenting with severe COVID-19 complications. To meet patient demand, a streamlined credentialing process without time-consuming gap-analyses is critical. Hospitals will continue to feel COVID-19’s residual effects, post-pandemic. Patient demand will continue as patients who forwent care present with more complicated cases, with fewer accessible hospitals to receive care.
As hospitals work to meet COVID-19-related patient demands, equipping MSPs with accessible and comprehensive practitioner-affiliation data is critical. NAMSS continues to develop resources to enable MSPs to ensure that only vetted practitioners see patients. As hospital closures increase the likelihood of lost affiliation data, NAMSS will continue to support MSPs in obtaining this data.
 American Hospital Association. Hospitals and Health Systems Continue to Face Unprecedented Financial Challenges due to COVID-19. https://www.aha.org/system/files/media/file/2020/06/aha-covid19-financial-impact-report.pdf