Committee: Separate entity could handle procedure credentialing

November 1, 2005

National report — The most feasible road to procedure credentialing would likely involve setting up a separate entity comprised of dermatologic-associated societies and administering a credentialing system similar to the process of hospital privileging, according to the initial findings of a joint task force of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS).

In an unprecedented collaboration, the committee is taking on the increasingly pressing issue of procedure credentialing amid threats to dermatologists' and dermasurgeons' rights to practice certain procedures.

"The core of the issue we're trying to address is how do we make sure the people doing procedures they learned in post-residency are qualified to do those procedures," says Naomi Lawrence, M.D., an associate professor of medicine and head of procedural dermatology at Cooper University Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and chair of the task force.

The committee found the suggestion of a separate entity to be the most realistic option only after considering other potential options:

That leaves the option of forming the separate entity, and so far, research indicates the option could work.

Separate entity

"We looked to see if there were any legal barriers to doing credentialing through a separate society and there really weren't," Dr. Lawrence says.

Costs would not necessarily be prohibitive, and, importantly, surveys have already indicated that there would be a high interest among members.

A 2003 survey of ASDS members in fact showed that 65 percent of members feel procedure credentialing should be developed as an alternative to hospital privileging, and 58 percent believe the AAD should develop a voluntary procedure credentialing program.

A recommended list of procedures for credentialing put together by the task force includes everything from ambulatory phlebectomy, blepharoplasty, fat transfer and chemical peels, to laser/intense pulsed light treatments, liposuction, hair transplant and skin grafts.

Under the administration of a separate society, the envisioned credentialing system would parallel the process of receiving hospital privileges, including having physicians fill out an application, send in their credentials, submit letters of reference, fill out forms indicating where they learned the technique and listing how many cases they've done, and other information, Dr. Lawrence explains.

The payoff of setting up such a system would be a readiness for the future and protection of the specialty, Dr. Lawrence says.

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