WASHINGTON, DC - 12/5/05

CAQH, an alliance of the nation’s leading health plans and networks working to simplify healthcare administration, announced today that more than one-quarter of a million providers are now reducing paperwork and administrative costs through its Universal Credentialing DataSource® (UCD) service.

Based on figures from a Sept. 2004 Medical Group Management Association cost analysis, UCD is eliminating million per year or 1.1 million hours (the equivalent of 573 full-time employees) of provider and support staff time required to complete and send the application forms. CAQH estimates UCD has eliminated nearly 900,000 legacy credentialing applications to date.

Launched in 2002, UCD allows registered physicians and allied health professionals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to enter their credentialing information free of charge into a single, uniform online application that meets the credentialing needs of most health plans, hospitals and other healthcare organizations. The provider data-collection service streamlines the initial application and re-credentialing processes, reduces provider administrative burdens and costs, and offers health organizations real-time access to reliable provider information for quality assurance and support services, such as directories and claims processing.

“This initiative demonstrates the real power of industry collaboration,” said Robert J. Greczyn, Jr., chairman of the CAQH Board of Directors and president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. “Hitting the 250,000 provider mark is a notable milestone for both the initiative and CAQH.” At this time, more than 250 health plans currently participate in UCD; approximately 10,000 new providers register in the service each month.

All data submitted by providers through UCD is maintained by CAQH in a secure, state-of-the-art data center. Providers authorize health plans and other organizations access to the information. Periodic provider updates help ensure that the information is always current; provider changes are automatically sent to participating healthcare organizations. The service’s newest feature, the Ongoing Sanctions Monitoring Module, streamlines the sanctions monitoring and review process by centralizing data collection from more than 400 sources, including all state licensing boards, the Office of Inspector General, Office of Personnel Management and Medicare/Medicaid organizations.

The CAQH service is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the Medical Group Management Association and other provider organizations, and recognized by a number of state legislators and insurance commissioners.

CAQH is a catalyst for industry collaboration on initiatives that simplify healthcare administration. CAQH solutions help promote quality interactions between plans, providers and other stakeholders, reduce costs and frustrations associated with healthcare administration, facilitate administrative healthcare information exchange and encourage administrative and clinical data integration. For more information, visit