AMERICA'S ALLIED HEALTH PROVIDERS TO GET RELIEF FROM THE CREDENTIALING PROCESS

WASHINGTON, DC - 6/8/04

 The not-for-profit Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) today announced that it will expand its fast-growing Universal Credentialing DataSource service to the nation's allied health providers. The free online service, which is currently offered to physicians, will launch in 30 states this summer and will be available nationwide by the end of the year. The expansion of Universal Credentialing DataSource will include allied health providers from 30 fields, such as nursing, optometry, physical therapy and massage therapy. There are approximately 800,000 allied health providers in the country.

First launched in 2002, Universal Credentialing DataSource is being used by more than 92,000 physicians nationwide. The innovative online tool eases the administrative burden of the credentialing process by allowing providers to complete one standardized credentialing application to satisfy the credentialing requirements of multiple participating health plans and healthcare organizations. Medical office staff who manage credentialing for physicians say that using Universal Credentialing DataSource frees up their time and reduces paperwork, as compared to conventional credentialing procedures.

"The credentialing process is time-consuming, redundant, and just plain frustrating - we fill out multiple forms that all ask for essentially the same information, but in different formats," said Mathew Hyland, P.T., MPA, CSCS, co-owner of Rye Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Rye, New York. "Universal Credentialing DataSource will be a welcome addition to my practice, and we're looking forward to getting on board."

Developed by the nation's leading health plans, Universal Credentialing DataSource facilitates credentialing with dozens of participating health plans and healthcare organizations.

"Allied health providers are a vital force in today's healthcare system, and we can support them by reducing their administrative burden and improving the way they work with us," said Alan Rosenberg, M.D., vice president at WellPoint Health Networks. "With the expansion of Universal Credentialing DataSource to allied health providers, this important audience can receive the same time-savings, convenience and other benefits that physicians have enjoyed with the service."

With Universal Credentialing DataSource, information is entered one time, online or by fax, to meet the credentialing and recredentialing requirements of all participating healthcare organizations. Simple updates help ensure that practice information is always accurate.

Data collected through Universal Credentialing DataSource is maintained by CAQH in a secure, state-of-the-art data center, and is only made available to healthcare organizations that have been authorized by each provider. Each healthcare organization reviews and verifies credentialing data, and decides independently whether or not a provider meets its standards for participation.

"The entire healthcare industry is looking for ways to simplify administrative processes, and Universal Credentialing DataSource is a proven solution for reducing the paperwork and costs associated with the credentialing process," said Robin J. Thomashauer, executive director of CAQH. "We are pleased to make the service available to the full array of licensed practitioners, continuing to expand upon the success we have achieved in streamlining the process for physicians nationwide."

The following types of licensed allied health providers are eligible to use Universal Credentialing DataSource:

To learn more about the service, providers can contact the health plans with which they contract or call the Universal Credentialing DataSource Help Desk at 888-599-1771.

About CAQH
The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) is a not-for-profit alliance of health plans and networks that promotes collaborative initiatives to help make healthcare more affordable, share knowledge to improve the quality of care, and make administration easier for physicians and their patients. For more information, please visit www.caqh.org.

CONTACT:
Jackie Erspamer
651-452-8847

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