Monday, July 22, 2013

A Short Lesson in Credentialing

I may or may not have ever mentioned this, but my chosen profession is physician credentialing. I got into it completely by accident, as I was simply looking for a hospital job. I had started out taking some nursing courses before figuring out that others' bodily fluids wasn't my game. But I loved learning about anatomy & physiology (hence my love of bodybuilding)! 

Given that I've been beyond swamped in my jobs, I figured what better time than to share how incredibly crazy and important positions like this are in the world. This is exactly how I feel that I fit in to the health care setting, and provide an invaluable service to patients: By not allowing questionable physicians even into our hospital or touch patients until they have proven their competence.

Although I technically just push a bunch of paper, it can be much more. There are days where I feel like a psychologist, myself, learning all about the psyche of a doctor. 

And then there are days where I feel like a detective, sorting through bullshit with logic to find questionable health care providers. 

Question of the Day: What do you call a doctor who graduated last in his class from medical school?
Answer: An M.D. Sad, but true. 

While I'm not here to train you on how to do my job, I am here to give you a small lesson in sorting through bullshit.  

There has been a physician who recently entered the ranks of the IFBB, who shall remain nameless for now, that I happen to know he/she is claiming to be a board certified physician who is IN FACT, not. I'm not here to tear this person down, or ruin their career (not like my little blog really could), but I do want to warn those out there willing to listen in how to sort through the information themselves. - An excellent resource on doctors and hospitals. 
Google - believe it or not, a pretty good resource in finding just about anything on a doctor. And when it comes to their profession, rumors can be true.

RED FLAGS. Meaning, these are immediate flags to me to look deeper into this person's background... Not necessarily that these are poor practitioners.
-Solo Doctors: While you might think seeing a solo practitioner would be great, because it means they have an entrepreneurial spirit and are an expert - not always so. In my world, that usually means they do not work well with others, and do not want to be subject to evidence based peer review. Meaning, they don't want anyone reviewing their work and finding problems. Also, if you are having anything done by a solo provider, and something goes wrong, they usually cannot provide any kind of service to you in a hospital setting, as all providers must have 24 hour hospital coverage to their patients. If they don't have partners, they can't do that!

-Doctors claiming to be board or not board certified at all: Okay, first I should clarify my highlighted point.... All doctors are going to claim to be board certified, and mostly, they will be. If you ask about your doctor's board it should be something like American Board of XX (Orthopedic Surgery or Internal Medicine). Sometimes doctors will tell you they are board certified and they are truly falsifying (which you may not ever know, because it takes someone like me or your state's medical board to find out), or a doctor can become boarded in a less than reputable board... So like I said, it should be something like the above... If its like North American Board of Orthopedic Surgery  - QUESTION THAT! These boards are usually easy to pass, and are for the lesser trained/skilled/competent physician or surgeon. Unfortunately, sometimes when a doctor is practicing solo, they aren't held to any specific standards - because they have no partners checking holding them accountable. 

If a doctor is not board certified within, say, 8 years of graduating their residency or fellowship... I'd ask why. Don't be afraid to ask your doctors office if your doctor is board certified or not. The only exception I would make in this case, is if a doctor is within 5 years of retiring and they let it lapse - That's pretty reasonable.But other than that, this IS important. The American Boards are all governed by the American Medical Association and provide reasonable proof that your physician or surgeon is keeping up on their education, and new skills and practices among physicians in their area of study. 

-Providers doing something they are not trained in: My biggest fear on an airplane, is to hear a frantic attendant call overhead, "Is there a doctor on the plane???" Doctors are not one-size fits all. Yes, they all went to medical school and have basic training... but when a practitioner has been studying only 1 field for the last 30 years, they shouldn't be doing something else. A cardiologist cannot deliver babies, or should not anyway. 

My point here, is that it should concern you if you're seeing a family medicine doctor claim they also do cosmetic surgery. Doctors do not both go the medicine route and the surgery route. They are one or the other.

-Providers who are hesitant to answer questions about their background: I have a lot of patients call asking questions about their doctor. Unfortunately, being who I am, I can almost never release information on doctors other than the most basic info. However, their offices can release whatever they want. They should be able to tell if you if your doc is board certified, and in what. A lot of doctors take a personal interest in certain topics, like if you're an endocrinologist (the study of the endocrine system - hormones & glands) you might take a special interest in post-menopausal hypothyroidism, but many times only their offices will know this information. If they don't want to answer about his board (or other certifications), I would be very hesitant...

-STATE LICENSE: This is a little piece of information that you might want to hold onto, a LOT of state medical board queries, are FREE. Just Google "(Insert State) State Medical board" or "(insert state) state department of health". You may have to search and navigate a bit to find it, but you can usually find your doctor by name, and see the following:
- Name
- License Status
- License Expiration Date
-Actions (Sometimes. This is true in the state of Washington. We can view at any time any action the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, as its called here, has taken against the physician, what the case was, and what the outcome was. Seriously great knowledge to be able to find out on your practitioner.)
I basically protect people from guys like this ^ - I would flat out fire him as my doc.

Getting to the Point.
There are a lot of people out there, offering a lot of services... And we, as consumers, are left to trust businesses when they claim they are something or can do something. But the reality is, if someone is offering a service - they are there to make money. Most people do not ask to see credentials, but what if you had paid your trainer a heap of money... only to find out he/she wasn't really certified?? 

Have you asked your trainer HOW they are qualified to prep a competitor for a body building competition?? Before you fork over all your hard earned cash, and start choking down only boiled tilapia, make sure you know who your trainer is and what they are asking of you. You're not going to put a donut in your mouth just because a trainer told you it was calorie free, so make sure you know what they are about before you go taking their advice and wrecking your body just to do what you're told.

If anyone has a lot of time and money, I have a great business idea for this (And you guys know how often I get business ideas, which I offered to the NPC, btw... If they take this idea, I at least want the credit. They could call it the Bang System. HA!):
There is an online verification system for doctor credentials, in which I can verify their dates of residency and where, or that they even earned their medical degree - Its though the AMA - American Medical Association. It does cost money, but let's be honest... I'd be willing to pay $10 (or some nominal fee) in order to see my trainer was truly certified by a professional certifying board (In theory, Jacques, I've already tested your services and know you rock).  And the system could go further, trainers could pay to be listed on this query system showing what their specialties are, etc. I can just see it now...

You could query, simply by name and city of business and  perhaps get a little report that could say something like:

Trainer:  Lacey M. Bang, CPT
Place of Business: Spokane, Washington (licensed to see clients in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Cheney, WA)
Trained by: Online - Eastern Washington University - March 2013
Special Interests/Training: Trained to work with Diabetic patients, Certified Contest Prep Coach. Personal interest in NPC Bikini Posing/Coaching.
*Trainer is up to date with on-going education as of 7/2013

Contact Information:
Banging Bodies Consulting (TEE HEE!)
12345 W. 5th St. Ste. 300, Spokane,WA 99204
Phone: 509-555-5555 Email:

Verified by the National Physique Committee 7/22/2013.

JUST SAYING! Obviously, it could be TONS more robust, or even more simple. But I think its a stellar idea. The NPC never responded to my inquiries, but my credentialing skills are up for hire! I'd rather my skills be used toward an industry I am passionate about. :) Plus, there is huge potential revenue in this... Possibly in the millions.

DEAR NPC  - CONTACT ME! or I might just patent this idea!!!
(Plus, NPC, this could potentially bring a large number of new competitors to the NPC... If people are only logging on to "verify" their trainer, they may navigate to other portions of the page and become interested in competing. Just a little nugget for thought).
PS - You could take this a couple of different routes too. The public could query a person individually, or by city to find all truly certified trainers in the area that do contest prep etc... This could help competitors who are looking for a new trainer find who is around them.

Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings, I've got plenty more things on my plate to worry about. I know that as an overweight person, I would have used this in a heartbeat back in the day when I first started training. So let's take a poll, would you use a service like this?!


  1. Umm, that's a BRILLIANT idea! You know I would use that! Can I get in on your business model? I can be the east coast rep??

    It's funny because I know EXACTLY what you are talking about with doctors, but from a different perspective. There are some days when I question how these doctors have the patient base they have with the personalities they display. Some are God-awful! It really should be its own documentary lol.

    1. YES! We just need a powerful platform! Like the NPC. :)

      So true, we have some surgeons with a horrible bedside manner, but those are usually the best doctors for some reason.... Smart doesn't always equate personable. LOL

  2. YES! This needs to be done like yesterday and I think it should be going on NOW. I would love to be your woman in Canada. Seriously. There are some horrible trainers out there than know NOTHING and need some checks and balances. :(