Credentialing and privileging: Key to pharmacy’s expanding patient care role

Today’s Perspective

William Ellis, BSPharm, MS, Executive Director, Board of Pharmacy Specialties

The Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy (CCP), established in 1999, provides leadership, guidance, public information, and coordination for the profession’s credentialing programs. In 2014, CCP released Credentialing and Privileging of Pharmacists: A Resource Paper from the Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy. The purpose of this resource is to educate pharmacists about credentialing and privileging processes and to assist those who are introducing or enhancing a credentialing and privileging system for pharmacists within their health care setting. 

Health care providers are increasingly more accountable for the quality of the care delivered to patients. As efforts to provide and reward efficient, affordable, and higher quality health care expand in the U.S. health care system, and pharmacists begin to function as part of health care teams, greater importance is being placed on credentialing and privileging of all health professionals. 

The Innovations article found on page 50 examines how credentialing and privileging processes are utilized in real-world practice settings—from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) since the late 1990s to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the early 2000s, managed care as evidenced by Kaiser Permanente, and the independent community pharmacy setting as illustrated by Goodrich Pharmacy in Minnesota with former APhA President Steve Simenson, BSPharm, FAPhA, FACA. 

The article includes many strong arguments to establish a credentialing and privileging process for pharmacists. Lea Price, PharmD, BCPS, from Kaiser Permanente Colorado, noted something we often hear from Board of Pharmacy Specialties Board Certified Pharmacists: “Physicians and nurses can feel confident that we perform at the highest level with the additional respect afforded by the credenitaling process.”

However, I believe that RADM Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, U.S. Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Professional Officer, Pharmacy, for the USPHS, said it best: “We realized at the time that if we expected to be reimbursed, we would have to have uniformity among credentials and competencies—similar to the medical staff.”