(a) Process for selection and retention of network doctors and health care practitioners.
(1) A network shall implement a documented process for selection and retention of contracted doctors and health care practitioners including the following elements, as applicable:
(A) The network's policies and procedures shall clearly indicate the doctor or health care practitioner directly responsible for the credentialing program and shall include a description of his or her participation.
(B) Networks shall develop written criteria for credentialing of doctors and health care practitioners and written procedures for verifications. Procedures shall include certification by applicants of completion of required maximum medical improvement and impairment rating training and filing of financial disclosure in accordance with Labor Code § 408.023 and § 413.041. The credentialing criteria and procedures must be made available to network providers or applicants upon request.
(i) The network shall credential all doctors and health care practitioners, including advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, if they are listed in the provider directory. A network shall credential each doctor and health care practitioner who is a member of a contracting group, such as an independent doctor association or medical group.
(ii) The network's policies and procedures must include the following doctors' and health care practitioners' rights:
(I) the right to review information submitted to support the credentialing application;
(II) the right to correct erroneous information;
(III) the right, upon request, to be informed of the status of the credentialing or recredentialing application; and
(IV) the right to be notified of these rights.
(iii) A network is not required to credential:
(I) hospital-based doctors or health care practitioners, including advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, unless listed in the provider directory;
(II) health care practitioners who furnish services only under the direct supervision of a doctor or another health care practitioner except as specified in clause (i) of this subparagraph;
(III) students, residents, or fellows;
(IV) pharmacists; or
(iv) A network must complete the initial credentialing process, including application, verification of information, and a site visit (if applicable), before the effective date of the initial contract with the doctor or health care practitioner.
(v) The network's policies and procedures shall include a provision that applicants be notified of the credentialing decision no later than 60 calendar days after the credentialing committee's decision.
(vi) A network must have written policies and procedures for suspending or terminating affiliation with a contracting doctor or health care practitioner.
(vii) The network shall have a procedure for the ongoing monitoring of doctor and health care practitioner performance between periods of recredentialing and shall take appropriate action when it identifies occurrences of poor quality. Monitoring shall include:
(I) Medicare and Medicaid sanctions: The network must determine the publication schedule or release dates applicable to its doctor and health care practitioner community; the network is responsible for reviewing the information within 30 calendar days of its release;
(II) information from state licensing boards regarding sanctions or licensure limitations;
(III) complaints; and
(IV) information from the department's division of workers' compensation regarding sanctions or practice limitations.
(viii) The network's procedures shall ensure that selection and retention criteria do not discriminate against doctors or health care practitioners who serve high-risk populations. Procedures shall also include a provision that credentialing and recredentialing decisions are not based on an applicant's race, ethnic/national identity, gender, age, sexual orientation or the types of procedures performed or types of patients.
(I) The network shall have a procedure for notifying licensing or other appropriate authorities, including the department's division of workers' compensation, when a doctor's or health care practitioner's affiliation is suspended or terminated due to quality of care concerns.
(II) The network shall maintain evidence of notification as required under subclause (I) of this clause.
(C) The initial credentialing process for doctors and health care practitioners must include the following:
(i) Doctors and health care practitioners shall complete an application which includes a work history covering at least the immediately preceding five years, a statement by the applicant regarding any limitations in ability to perform the functions of the position, history of loss of license and/or felony convictions; and history of loss or limitation of privileges, sanctions or other disciplinary activity, current use of illegal drugs, current professional liability insurance coverage information, and information on whether the doctor or health care practitioner will accept new patients from the network. A network may use the standardized credentialing application form specified in § 21.3201 of this title (relating to Texas Standardized Credentialing Application for Physicians, Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants) for credentialing of health care practitioners. The completion date on the application shall be within 180 calendar days prior to the date the credentialing committee deems a doctor or health care practitioner eligible for initial credentialing.
(ii) The network shall verify the following from primary sources and shall include evidence of verification in the credentialing files:
(I) A current license to practice in the State of Texas and information on sanctions or limitations on licensure. The primary source for verification shall be the state licensing agency or board for Texas, and the license and sanctions must be verified within 180 calendar days prior to the date the credentialing committee deems a doctor or health care practitioner eligible for initial credentialing. The license must be in effect at the time of the credentialing decision.
(II) Education and training, including evidence of graduation from an appropriate professional school and completion of a residency or specialty training, if applicable. Primary source verification shall be sought from the appropriate schools and training facilities or the American Medical Association MasterFile. If the state licensing board, agency, or specialty board verifies education and training with the doctor's or health care practitioner's schools and facilities, evidence of current state licensure or board certification shall also serve as primary source verification of education and training.
(III) Board certification, if the doctor or health care practitioner indicates that he/she is board certified on the application. The network may obtain primary source verification from the American Board of Medical Specialties Compendium, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Medical Association MasterFile, or from the specialty boards, and the network must use the most recent available source.
(IV) A valid DEA or DPS Controlled Substances Registration Certificate, if applicable, in effect at the time of the credentialing decision. The network may verify the certificate(s) by any one of the following means:
(-a-) a copy of the DEA or DPS certificate;
(-b-) visual inspection of the original certificate;
(-c-) confirmation with DEA or DPS;
(-d-) confirmation of entry in the National Technical Information Service database; or
(-e-) confirmation of entry in the American Medical Association Physician MasterFile.
(iii) The network shall verify within 180 calendar days prior to the date of the credentialing decision and shall include in the doctor's or health care practitioner's credentialing file the following:
(I) past five-year history of professional liability claims that resulted in settlements or judgments paid by or on behalf of the doctor or health care practitioner, which the network may obtain from the professional liability carrier or the National Practitioner Data Bank; and
(II) information on previous sanction activity by Medicare and Medicaid which the network may obtain from one of the following:
(-a-) National Practitioner Data Bank;
(-b-) Cumulative Sanctions Report available over the internet;
(-c-) Medicare and Medicaid Sanctions and Reinstatement Report distributed to federally contracting networks;
(-d-) state Medicaid agency or intermediary and the Medicare intermediary;
(-e-) Federation of State Medical Boards;
(-f-) Federal Employees Health Benefits Program department record published by the Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Inspector General; or
(-g-) entry in the American Medical Association Physician MasterFile.
(iv) The network shall perform a site visit to the offices of each treating doctor as part of the initial credentialing process. If doctors or health care practitioners are part of a group practice that shares the same office, the network may perform one visit to the site for all doctors or health care practitioners in the group practice, as well as for new doctors or health care practitioners who subsequently join the group practice. The network shall make the site visit assessment available to the department for review. The network shall have a process to track the relocation of and the opening of additional office sites for treating doctors as they open.
(v) Site visits shall consist of an evaluation of the site's accessibility, appearance, appointment availability, and space, using standards approved by the network. If a treating doctor offers services that require certification or licensure, such as laboratory or radiology services, the treating doctor shall have the current certification or licensure available for review at the site visit. In addition, as a result of the site visits, the network shall determine whether the site conforms to the network's standards for record organization, documentation, and confidentiality practices. Should the site not conform to the network's standards, the network shall require a corrective action plan and perform a follow-up site visit every six months until the site complies with the standards.
(vi) A network may phase in the required site visits to treating doctors until not later than the first anniversary after the date of the network's certification. If the department receives a complaint about a treating doctor who has not had a site visit, the network shall perform a site visit not later than 30 days after notification by the department of the complaint unless circumstances warrant an immediate site visit, and shall take action to correct any deficiencies found.
(D) The network shall have written procedures for recredentialing doctors and health care practitioners at least every three years through a process that updates information obtained in initial credentialing.
(i) Recredentialing will include a current and signed attestation that must be completed within 180 days prior to the date the credentialing committee deems a doctor or health care practitioner eligible for recredentialing with the following factors:
(I) reasons for any inability to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without accommodation;
(II) lack of current use of illegal drugs;
(III) history of loss or limitation of privileges or disciplinary activity;
(IV) current professional liability insurance coverage; and
(V) correctness and completeness of the application.
(ii) Recredentialing procedures must be completed within 180 days prior to the date the credentialing committee deems a doctor or health care practitioner eligible for recredentialing and shall include the following processes:
(I) reverification of the following from the primary sources:
(-a-) licensure and information on sanctions or limitations on licensure;
(-b-) board certification:
(-1-) if the doctor or health care practitioner was due to be recertified; or
(-2-) if the doctor or health care practitioner indicates that he or she has become board certified since the last time he or she was credentialed or recredentialed; and
(-c-) Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or Department of Public Safety (DPS) Controlled Substances Registration Certificate, if applicable. The network may reverify the certificate(s) by any one of the following means:
(-1-) a copy of the DEA or DPS certificate;
(-2-) visual inspection of the original certificate;
(-3-) confirmation with DEA or DPS;
(-4-) confirmation of entry in the National Technical Information Service database; or
(-5-) confirmation of entry in the American Medical Association Physician MasterFile;
(II) review of updated history of professional liability claims in accordance with the verification sources and time limits specified in subparagraph (C)(iii) of this paragraph.
(E) The credentialing process for health care facilities shall include the following:
(i) evidence of state licensure;
(ii) evidence of Medicare certification;
(iii) evidence of compliance with other applicable state or federal requirements, e.g., Bureau of Radiation Control certification for diagnostic imaging centers, certification for community mental health centers from the Texas Department of State Health Services or its successor agency, CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988) certification for laboratories;
(iv) evidence of accreditation by a national accrediting body, as applicable; the network shall determine which national accrediting bodies are appropriate for different types of health care facilities. The network's written policies and procedures must state which national accrediting bodies it accepts; and
(v) evidence of on-site evaluation of the health care facility against the network's written standards for participation if the provider is not accredited by the national accrediting body required by the network.
(F) The network procedures shall provide for recredentialing of health care facilities at least every three years through a process that updates information obtained for initial credentialing as set forth in subparagraph (E)(i)--(v) of this paragraph.
(2) The network or the network's delegated entity shall make all credentialing processes and files available to the department upon request.
(b) Site visits for cause.
(1) The network shall have procedures for detecting deficiencies subsequent to the initial site visit. When the network identifies new deficiencies, the network shall reevaluate the site and institute actions for improvement.
(2) A network may conduct a site visit to the office of any doctor or health care practitioner at any time for cause. The network shall conduct the site visit to evaluate the complaint or other precipitating event, which may include an evaluation of any facilities or services related to the complaint or event and an evaluation of medical records, equipment, space, accessibility, appointment availability, or confidentiality practices, as appropriate.
(c) Peer review. The quality improvement program shall provide for a peer review procedure for doctors, as required under the Medical Practice Act, Chapters 151--164, Occupations Code. The network shall designate a credentialing committee that uses a peer review process to make recommendations regarding credentialing decisions.
(d) Delegation of credentialing.
(1) If the network delegates credentialing functions to other entities, it shall have:
(A) a process for developing delegation criteria and for performing pre-delegation and annual audits;
(B) a delegation agreement;
(C) a monitoring plan; and
(D) a procedure for termination of the delegation agreement for non-performance.
(2) If the network delegates credentialing functions to an entity accredited by one of the national accreditation organizations as described in § 10.81(c) of this subchapter (relating to Quality Improvement Program), the annual audit of that entity is not required for the function(s) listed in the accreditation; however, evidence of this accreditation shall be made available to the department for review.
(3) The network shall maintain and shall make available for the department to review:
(A) documentation of pre-delegation and annual audits;
(B) executed delegation agreements;
(C) semi-annual reports received from the delegated entities;
(D) evidence of evaluation of the reports;
(E) current rosters or copies of signed contracts with doctors and health care practitioners who are affected by the delegation agreement; and
(F) documentation of ongoing monitoring.
(4) Credentialing files maintained by the other entities to which the network has delegated credentialing functions shall be made available to the department for examination upon request.
(5) In all cases, the network shall maintain the right to approve credentialing, suspension, and termination of doctors and health care practitioners.
The provisions of this § 10.82 adopted to be effective December 5, 2005, 30 TexReg 8099.