Nov. 21, 2019

HARRISBURG – Working to protect and enhance access to health care across rural Pennsylvania, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) today announced House passage of his bill to help small, rural hospitals save money and better attract talented health care practitioners.

House Bill 533 would eliminate unwarranted delays by health insurers in credentialing applicants for inclusion in their networks, thus helping rural hospitals be more competitive when it comes to recruiting quality health care practitioners.

“Our rural hospitals and other medical facilities face enough challenges as it is when it comes to meeting the needs of our rural communities,” Owlett said. “By setting strict timelines and streamlining the credentialing process, we give our health care providers the stability and predictability they need and remove a major hurdle to ensuring quality care for our citizens in rural areas.”

Watch Rep. Owlett’s comments on House Bill 533 here.

Under the bill, all health insurers in Pennsylvania would be required to accept The Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare’s credentialing application or another nationally recognized credentialing application designated by the Insurance Department in order to streamline the process. Health insurers would then have 60 days to complete the credentialing process after receiving the credentialing application.

Hospitals, physician practices and community health centers across the state routinely face the situation where a newly hired health care professional who is fully licensed and qualified to provide care is not reimbursed by insurers for months while the insurers work their way through an unnecessarily long and cumbersome credentialing process. Not only does this cost these facilities money, but it also limits access to care by keeping fully licensed and qualified providers on the sidelines until they are credentialed by insurers. Larger hospitals in more heavily populated areas can often absorb these costs and delays, but rural hospitals are at a distinct disadvantage.

“When talking with those in the health care field about what barriers they face when seeking employment, the amount of time in the credentialing process has been identified again and again,” said Owlett. “If we want to attract talented physicians to Pennsylvania and save our smaller rural hospitals money, then we need to make the transition of new physicians as smooth and as quick as possible. Right now some doctors are waiting up to six months to be credentialed.”

Owlett’s bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
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