Emergency Ultrasound Section Forum
Coding and Reimbursement
Credentialing, Privileging, Certification or Accreditation? What do they mean?
Credentialing and Privileging refer to the process of applying to a medical staff for permission to perform certain procedures (whichcan include point-of-care ultrasound) at a specific hospital. In fact, many hospitals have ultrasound as part of the credentialing package for core privileges in Emergency Medicine and include this as an essential part of EM practice.
Certification refers to an outside body stating that a practitioner is capable of performingand/or interpreting ultrasound studies. Certification is provider-specific. There is currently no certification process in place for practitioners of emergency ultrasound, and thus several emergency providers who have gained sonography expertise have chosen to obtain certification from the American Board of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) to identify themselves as having a certain amount of sonography experience. Keep in mind, however, that the RDMS and RDCS certifications offered by ARDMS are the same as the certifications for ultrasound (RDMS) and echo (RDCS)technicians and therefore do not certify the provider to interpret the study they’ve performed, and as such do not fully represent the skills these providers have attained.
Accreditation refers to an outside body evaluating and approving a particular practice at a hospital level (think of being an “accredited stroke center”). Accreditation is practice location-specific. As of themoment, there are no formal accrediting bodies that evaluate and approve the practice of point-of-care ultrasound.