CredentialingOne Blog

Primary Source Verification

Posted on Friday, April 17, 2020

What is Primary Source Verification?

Primary source verification (PSV) is the process of validating a provider’s credentials through direct contact with the person or organization that actually issued the information.

Lengthy checklists representing the time-consuming process of primary source verification.

CredentialingOne can complete the time-consuming PSV process for you.

According to The Joint Commission, PSV is:

“Verification of an individual practitioner’s reported qualifications by the original source or an approved agent of that source. Methods for conducting primary source verification of credentials include direct correspondence, documented telephone verification, secure electronic verification from the original qualification source, or reports from credentials verification organizations (CVOs) that meet Joint Commission requirements.”

PSV requires detailed documentation, which should include:
  • Date the PSV was conducted
  • Method of verification (e.g. letter, fax, email, phone, website)
  • Agency and/or individual person contacted for verification and their contact information
  • The information that was specifically verified
  • Results of the PSV (e.g. questions asked and their answers)
  • Person who conducted the PSV and their signature

Why is Primary Source Verification Necessary?

Primary source verification is vital to accurate and credible credentialing. It is simply inadequate to accept information submitted by a provider or document photocopies at face value.

PSV protects your patients’ safety by helping to ensure your practitioners are qualified to care for them. Furthermore, it protects your organization from legal risks and compliance issues.

PSV is the standard form of verification for the healthcare industry and helps healthcare facilities meet the accreditation requirements of The Joint Commission and NCQA.

Primary Sources Vs. Secondary Sources

The Joint Commission has deemed some entities “designated equivalent sources,” meaning it considers them to provide information identical to that provided by the original source. Your options for PSV are contacting the original source or any designated equivalent sources.

You should only use secondary sources to verify credentials in cases where it is truly not possible to contact the original source (such as when the issuing agency or hospital has closed) and designated equivalent sources are unable to verify the information. For example, if an establishment is no longer in operation you may try contacting any successor organizations or find out where original documents may have been sent.

Primary Source Verification Services

PSV is a very involved and time-consuming process that entails manual, repetitive tasks that must be completed for EACH credential and for EVERY provider. Some designated equivalent sources also require payment to gain access.

Fortunately, CredentialingOne can contact/access each of these sources (original sources and/or designated equivalent sources) for you as well as document the completion of PSV for each of your providers’ credentials. We also monitor providers’ compliance, so you don’t have to manually track credentials and documentation and can ensure they’re renewed before they expire.

For more information on primary source verification and how CredentialingOne can help, contact us today.


By Stephanie Salmich

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