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Ask the Right Questions on the Medical Staff Application

Analysis  |  By Credentialing Resource Center  
   August 10, 2020

Asking if an applicant has ever been the subject of "formal disciplinary action" at any healthcare institution is rather vague.

A version of this article was first published August 10, 2020, by HCPro's Credentialing Resource Center, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

Failure to craft clear, targeted, and meaningful questions is one of the top pitfalls in credentialing. Although it’s difficult to pose questions that cover any and all conceivable disclosure situations, organizations should be as thorough as possible.

For example, asking if an applicant has ever been the subject of “formal disciplinary action” at any healthcare institution is rather vague.

The applicant may not consider certain significant actions to be formal disciplinary action, and, therefore, based on the question’s wording, he or she may not disclose pertinent information.

Perhaps this applicant was under investigation or had numerous incident reports filed against him or her that were handled at the department level through collegial intervention.

Because these actions are not considered formal corrective or disciplinary action through the medical executive committee, the applicant may not feel that he or she needs to disclose the incidents.

The applicant would be much likelier to share this information, however, if the question instead reads as follows:

“Have you ever been the subject of current, former, or pending complaints; the subject of a current or pending investigation or formal review; or placed on probation, suspended, reprimanded, or received any other type of disciplinary or corrective action?”

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