Credentialing & Privileging | 11.02.20
Defining Tomorrow’s MSP: A Deep Dive Into the Latest NAMSS Report
At the NAMSS 44th Educational Virtual Conference and Exhibition, NAMSS introduced the latest industry report, “Defining Tomorrow’s MSP: The Future of the Medical Services Profession.” This report and its accompanying fact sheet are pivotal resources to help you, as a valued gatekeeper of patient safety, become Tomorrow’s MSP. These resources provide further understanding of the profession’s current landscape, education on core competencies you need as you progress in your career, and the essential skill sets that will help you meet new challenges head-on.
To learn more about this report, NAMSS caught up with Diane Meldi, MBA, CPMSM, CPCS, NAMSS Past President. Meldi, who chaired the task force that developed this report, shares how its goals, competencies, and skill sets guide you in becoming Tomorrow’s MSP.
NAMSS: Share some background on the most recent report from NAMSS, “Defining Tomorrow’s MSP: The Future of the Medical Services Profession.” How did you get involved? What interested you in leading this initiative?
Diane Meldi, MBA, CPMSM, CPCS (DM): The NAMSS Board of Directors were reviewing and proposing the strategic plan and goals for the next five years. It was important to identify future competencies required in the field, as well as any gaps and recommend actions. We completed a job task analysis for the CPCS and CPMSM certifications which also added information for “Tomorrow’s MSP.” An online survey was sent to all NAMSS members to validate the set of core functions and identify areas where NAMSS can provide additional support.
During my tenure on the NAMSS Board, I was passionate that innovation would change the MSP’s career and proactive about what actions NAMSS needed to take to prepare the members for these changes. I led the task force for Tomorrow’s MSP and worked closely with NAMSS staff. Additionally, the annual NAMSS roundtable focused on blockchain one year. The stakeholders agreed that innovation and blockchain would be important factors in the future for MSPs.
NAMSS: One goal of this report is to encourage healthcare organizations to recognize the direct benefits MSPs bring to their organizations. How have you seen this evolve over the years? What do you hope healthcare organizations take away from this report?
DM: MSPs are the gatekeepers of patient safety, ensuring quality care through credentialing and privileging of healthcare providers in an ever-changing industry. Over the years, MSPs’ responsibilities have greatly increased, and it is important for healthcare organizations to support education, certification, and promotion to ensure MSPs are ready and given the opportunity to advance. I am hopeful that MSPs will share this report with their leaders to demonstrate the importance of their responsibilities and the magnitude of knowledge that the successful MSP must have today to ensure patient safety.
I have seen more evidence of organizations seeking out MSPs to be executive directors and vice presidents in the past 10 years in healthcare organizations.
NAMSS: How have you seen the MSP profession evolve over the past four years as the world has become more digital?
DM: Healthcare has evolved during the past four years with mergers, closing of hospitals, telemedicine, and digital improvements. I have seen hospital MSPs focus more on quality, patient safety, and medical staff issues such as peer review and leadership development. CVOs have grown and taken on the responsibility of the “source of truth” database for the organization, verifications, reporting, and data integrity. Additionally, the CVO or hospital MSP may already include provider enrollment responsibilities or are transferring provider enrollment to MSPs.
In my MSP career, I personally remember having a huge room that had over 50 file cabinets, and we had stacks of paper that needed to be filed. No one wanted to file — now that is solved with electronic filing in the database.
The pressure to credential and privilege a provider has taken on more importance due to revenue. The timeframe to credential/privilege “benchmark” is shrinking, and the digital age and software utilization is incredibly important for the organization. Placing providers on health plan panels, enrolling in governmental programs, and ensuring patient safety at the same time can be challenging. Credentials committees, medical executive committees, and more can now be held virtually, which expedites these approval processes.
NAMSS: This report identifies two new core functional areas for MSPs to perform: “Manages Provider Enrollment Processes” and “Analyzes and Manages Data Verification.” Share some background on how these competencies were identified and why they are crucial for the MSP to master.
DM: “Manages Provider Enrollment Processes” and “Analyzes and Manages Data Verification” were identified through focus groups and MSP competency assessments and reports. NAMSS state leaders also identified these core functional areas during a work session at the State Leaders Conference. As mentioned earlier, NAMSS members shared their input through an online survey.
“Manages Provider Enrollment Process” is important to the healthcare organization for revenue reasons. NAMSS in now offering Provider Enrollment virtual courses, which assist the MSP who wants to add value to their organization by being responsible for this function.
Many MSPs have a co-worker who is a database administrator or data manager in their department. Managing the database in the MSP or CVO department is now considered the source of truth for many organizations. This information may be used by numerous departments in the organization, i.e., marketing, finance, provider enrollment, health plans, legal. Some responsibilities of “Manages Data Verification” include software database updates, security of data, implementation of new software products, reporting, and data and file audits.
NAMSS: Let’s talk about the MSP skill sets. As MSPs master the core functional areas of the profession and grow in their careers, the number of essential skills for success grows as well. How were the essential vs. very essential skill sets determined?
DM: NAMSS members completed a survey to review the core functions as either very essential or essential in their job today. The essential skills for success grow and change constantly. These skills can be dependent on the job description or MSPs’ current work setting. As expected, as the level or proficiency for the core functions and additional knowledge increased, the career level increased.
The MSP can perform a self-assessment as to where their current knowledge is today and where additional education is needed. The core functional areas provide the MSP a plan or worksheet as to how they can be competent in all core functional areas for future opportunities. This worksheet or plan should be shared with their leaders (administrative and medical staff) to solicit support and funding. It also could be used during the MSP’s annual evaluation and list the goals they want to accomplish within the next year.
Being an MSP is more than a job — it is a career that makes a difference in patient safety.
NAMSS: How does NAMSS support MSPs in emphasizing the identified competencies and elevating their roles within their organizations to become Tomorrow’s MSP?
DM: It is important for NAMSS and the Board of Directors to know what members need today and tomorrow. Education and opportunities are built on the assessment of core functional areas. NAMSS offers the annual conference, mentoring, virtual educational sessions, Synergy, Gateway, educational resources, and volunteer experiences to grow its members’ knowledge, experience, and prepare them for the changing healthcare field.
I encourage MSPs to volunteer for NAMSS or their state association. Volunteering is an excellent source for networking, learning to be a leader, and getting back much more than you give. An organization’s success or failure is based on leadership excellence. NAMSS needs leaders for the future to ensure it meets members’ needs and thrives in the ever-changing environment.
NAMSS has many resources for Tomorrow’s MSP, including the new report, accompanying fact sheet, a poster, the Tomorrow’s MSP Podcast, and the Tomorrow’s MSP Minute video series. These are important tools to share with your leadership and human resources and can be used to develop or update your staff’s job descriptions. You can find all of these resources here on the NAMSS website. NAMSS continues to develop new tools, programs, and resources to emphasize the new competencies.
NAMSS: MSPs have had to innovate and shift quite frequently over the past year as they navigate the pandemic world. How can this experience help them grow in these competencies?
DM: MSPs have been resilient this past year and have managed their day-to-day operations almost moment-by-moment, as each day is different from the day before. MSPs have had to change their “lean” or other processes due to shifting staff to a virtual, remote workforce. Learning to engage staff in a virtual environment was another growth opportunity. Additionally, when some staff members were eliminated due to a reduced workforce, teams had to figure out how to do more work with fewer resources. Tomorrow’s MSP prepares everyone for these types of changes in healthcare today. During a conference session, an MSP stated that their organization utilized paper and had plans to go paperless, but the pandemic forced this move earlier than expected. The organization survived and is thriving.
The pandemic also has offered opportunities to learn about new software that helps MSPs connect in a virtual environment. Learning technology skills like instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, virtual office environment, and more are needed to be successful. YouTube offers some free training on these skills.
NAMSS: In your own words, how do you define Tomorrow’s MSP?
DM: Tomorrow’s MSP stays ahead by continuing their education through NAMSS resources, publications, conference attendance, or formal education. They continue to strengthen influence in their organization through advocacy, servant leadership, and researching changes in the healthcare environment. Knowledge is the key to your future as Tomorrow’s MSP. Tomorrow’s MSP makes a difference in patient safety.
NAMSS: How can the takeaways in this report help NAMSS members become Tomorrow’s MSP?
DM: The new report assists the MSP in planning their future career and action plan. It also demonstrates that MSPs can have a career that allows them to be promoted to a leader in many healthcare settings. MSPs have diverse roles — some performing the traditional MSP role, others already expanding their responsibilities in the changing environment. This report offers career development and strategies for how the MSP can use their skills and capabilities to expand their professional capacity. Tomorrow’s MSP is ready for all challenges, whether it be a pandemic, merger, or new opportunity. Start your journey today as Tomorrow’s MSP.
“Defining Tomorrow’s MSP: The Future of the Medical Services Profession” and its accompanying fact sheet are now available on the NAMSS website, along with other resources to help you become Tomorrow’s MSP.
Diane Meldi, MBA, CPMSM, CPCS, is a NAMSS Past President and chair of the task force that developed "Defining Tomorrow's MSP: The Future of the Medical Services Profession" report.