Insurance process streamlined for healthcare workers

Small, rural hospitals may save money and attract new talent to their ranks following the passage of a Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Wellsboro, sponsored state bill, which aims to quickly insure new professionals.

Newly hired health care professionals who are fully licensed currently find difficulty in being insured due to the cumbersome process. This costs smaller hospitals money, and limits care from those professionals, according to a press release.

Under the bill, all health insurers in Pennsylvania would be required to accept credentialing applications accepted by the state Insurance Department. Health insurers would then have 60 days to complete the credentialing process after receiving the credentialing application.

The bill 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, Owlett said health care providers the stability and predictability they need and remove a major hurdle to ensuring quality care for citizens in rural areas.

“When talking with those in the healthcare 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.”

Some doctors have had to wait up to six months to be properly insured, he added.

In other business, Owlett recently warned small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations that Dec. 10 is the filing deadline for federal economic injury disaster loans in Pennsylvania as a result of excessive precipitation that began on July 23, 2018

The loans are provided through the U.S. Small Business Administration. They must be for working capital and can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3.61 percent for eligible small businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and terms up to 30 years.

The funding is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA said it cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers or ranchers.

“Operations in all three counties within the 68th Legislative District – Bradford, Potter and Tioga – are eligible for funding to aid in recovery from any economic injury they suffered during this disaster,” Owlett said. “I encourage them to explore this option before time runs out.”


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