175987 Credentialing in Pennsylvania: Demonstrating interoperability during emergency preparedness exercises

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carolyn K. Ellison, MHA , Office of Public Health Preparedness, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA
FIPS 201 (Federal Identity Protection System) indicates at the federal level, the need to establish the identity and attributes of a health care provider using electronic methodology. Pennsylvania piloted compliance to this directive in 2007 by participating in a federal exercise where credentials were issued to volunteers registered in the State Emergency Registry of Volunteer Health Professionals, SERVPA. These credentials have a digital certificate holding information regarding licensure and criminal activity with the purpose that they could be deployed to assist another community during a disaster or emergency situation. SERVPA is linked with the Department of State to verify the validity of licenses and also with the Justice Network with the State Police to ensure the absence of criminal activity of the volunteers.

SERVPA is Pennsylvania's response to ESAR-VHP legislation (Emergency System for the Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals) requiring all states to have a volunteer registry in place by December 2009. These registries exist to ensure that an adequate and competent health volunteer force is available and also allows for the sharing of health volunteers across state lines. The credential issued allows the receiving hospital or entity to verify through scanning technology, that the identity and attributes of the volunteer are accurate. The possibilities of the cards increase when various applications are explored—linkage to the Women, Infant and Children program, multiple levels of access with state and local governments, and identity management for multiple state programs.

Pennsylvania will be participating in Winter Blast in March 2008 when credentials will be issued to members of the Philadelphia Medical REserve Corps.

Learning Objectives:
• Develop an understanding of FIPS 201 standards and how they can be used as the standard in a state credentialing program • Analyze the information presented and apply it to programs where the need to establish attributes to health care providers in emergency situations exists. • Evaluate the financial investment against the benefit of knowing that licensed health care professionals can be deployed to assist in emergency situations.

Keywords: Health Management Information Systems, Information System Integration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The credentialing project and the SERVPA registry are both program areas for which I am responsible for on a day-to-day basis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.