The Healthcare Hub

Vendor Credentialing and Management: Palmetto Health Perspective

posted by: Cheryl Watkins-Knowles, director of Purchasing, Palmetto Health
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Maintaining accreditation and compliance with HIPAA regulations is an on-going process for healthcare systems. In this post, Cheryl Watkins-Knowles, director of Purchasing for Palmetto Health, describes how their organization is using GHX Vendormate Credentialing and access management solutions to address their goals for accreditation, patient and staff safety, and mitigate financial risk.

Like every healthcare system, Palmetto Health needs to effectively manage its vendors and reps – both those that come on-site and those that interact remotely with staff – so that we can maintain our accreditation and comply with HIPAA regulations. For reps that come into our facilities, we need to know who they are, where they are, when they arrive and when they leave. We also need to ensure they are immunized, sign-off on our rules of conduct and whether the individual reps or their companies have been sanctioned.


Before implementing GHX Vendormate Credentialing, we managed vendors and reps manually but that required a lot of people and a lot of time. We decided that we needed an automated, electronic and centralized process. Rather than reinventing the wheel and trying to develop something on our own, we contracted with GHX and implemented the company’s vendor credentialing and access management solutions.


Here are some of the ways our health care system is using GHX credentialing solutions to protect our patients, staff, accreditation status and revenues.


  • Track Vendors/Reps: Unless you know how to identify and track vendors, you don’t know what they’re doing in your facilities. After implementing GHX access management solutions, vendors visiting on-site are required to sign in, are integrated with our system and must wear badges. We are able to see where they are allowed to be located and make sure they are adhering to our policies. For instance, we can know if they've had their TB test, undergone HIPAA training, and reviewed our safety materials.


  • Enforce Compliance: Clinicians can document their experience with reps in the GHX portal. With this ability, if a rep violates one of our policies, we can review documentation to know what happened and can take steps to address the issue. Our clinicians believe that this program helps us mitigate risk and protect our patients, team members and healthcare system.


  • Protect Revenue/Reduce Risk: The Office of Inspector General (OIG) says it is a duty of care for us to abide by the rules and avoid buying products from sanctioned entities or individuals. By performing checks at the company and rep level, GHX helps minimize our risks of being fined or sanctioned.


About Palmetto Health

Palmetto Health is the largest and most comprehensive integrated healthcare system in the South Carolina Midlands region. In fiscal year 2015, Palmetto Health included five Joint Commission-accredited acute-care hospitals with 1,138 patient beds – Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital and Palmetto Health Richland – as well as an expansive physician practice network, dozens of affiliated clinics and specialty care practices, and a 501(c)(3) foundation.