Physician Employment Best Practices Blog Feature
Patrick Birmingham

By: Patrick Birmingham on August 17th, 2012

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Physician Employment Best Practices

Healthcare Provider Credentialing

Payor Enrollment, Provider Management, Provider Credentialing, Provider PrivilegingWhile physician employment continues its rising trend, healthcare executives are facing the challenge of locating and retaining top talent. With the percentage of employment outpacing independent practice startups, healthcare executives must be strategic in recruiting the best and brightest while maintaining healthy operational budgets.

It all Begins with Credentialing

Credentialing, the required vetting of providers, cannot be overlooked or taken lightly. When done right, successful credentialing operations can lead to the recruitment and retention of top-quality talent, higher levels of patient care and improved revenue. Whether hiring providers to work as full-time employees in your hospital or group practice, recruiting needed specialists as income guarantees or bringing in long-term locum tenen providers, credentialing does not escape the hospital, the employer or the payor. And the three combined can add up to significant negative debt if recruitment and onboarding are ineffective.

Let's review how successful organizations recruit, employ and enroll their providers -efficiently and accurately:

Targeted Recruiting

Competitive organizations leverage recruitment as a distinct advantage. To reduce lost revenue and ensure a smooth transition, many will target providers and forecast the estimated length of credentialing time based on specialty and other contributing factors that may delay enrollment.

Once a candidate is identified, initiating a concise and transparent process, to include incentive measures, will reduce delays and ensure success for both parties. Providing education and incorporating benchmarks tied to the delivery of information should be outlined as key metrics of the recruitment process. As an example, sign on and relocation bonuses should not be released until:

  • Benchmarks are met

  • Application for employment has been submitted and accepted

  • Background screening has been completed and satisfactory results are obtained

  • Complete credentials documentation has been presented and accepted by the hospital or organization as satisfying all facility as well as payor enrollment needs to facilitate privileging and payor processes


Leading healthcare organizations take into account every possible consideration when recruiting a provider and potential obstacles must be identified and anticipated.

  • Know what types of incentive compensation models you can offer

  • Know what entity will actually employ the physician, so formation and billing information is known and accounted for in the hiring process to mitigate delays, especially in quick start-up operations

  • Plan for tricky state licensing processes. Licensing has a direct impact on startup time periods as the ability to acquire malpractice insurance, controlled substance abuse certification and hospital privileges often are held up due to licensure

  • Arrange for startup assistance in the event the organization cannot devote resources to work directly with a practitioner


Empowering providers will support long-term successful relationships.

  • Hold regular meetings with new providers, provide updates on privileging, staff selection, systems implementation, payor enrollment, etc.

  • Create a collegial environment; keep the lines of communication open so the provider is comfortable to ask questions

  • Schedule a regular time to speak to providers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Sometimes, there may be nothing new to report, but showing up and greeting their providers will lend to ongoing trust and facilitate good will

  • Preparation, collaboration and communication will help to remove roadblocks and expedite the enrollment and acceptance process

Payor Enrollment


About Patrick Birmingham

Patrick Birmingham is General Manager and Senior Vice President for Payor Enrollment Services at symplr. As a healthcare industry veteran, Patrick has with over 23 years of experience in management and executive roles and a wide range of experience in hospital, managed care, payor and physician practice operations management. At symplr Patrick is responsible for managing operations across all our product lines – Credentialing, Provider Management and Payor Enrollment. Prior to joining symplr Patrick was Chief Operating Officer at MedKinetics, a leading SaaS provider credentialing company, and the founder of Payor Enrollment Services, the industry’s leading solution for accelerated and accurate payor enrollment. Previously, Patrick was National Director, Credentialing and Enrollment Services at HCA Inc., and Director of Managed Care at HCA Physician Services. Prior to HCA Patrick held senior roles within hospital administration, and national PPO and HMO organizations.