Credentialing and Competence
Credentialing is a catchall term that refers to the ways in which professionals can measure and maintain their competence in education, training, and skills.
The processes involved in credentialing include accreditation, certification and licensing. Accreditation standards are set by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA) so that the educational programs in dentistry meet a predetermined set of standards for excellence. Certification is the proof that the individual has successfully completed the educational programs that can then be applied to their quest for licensure in their state.
Licensure is the credential granted to a candidate by the state after the individual provides appropriate documentation to prove he or she has met the states designated requirements to practice in the profession.
Proper credentialing is important to establish proof of the individual’s competency as measured through an accredited advanced educational program, being tested and passing licensing requirements of the state and when applicable federal standards.
When insurance companies require credentialing of all dentists practicing on patients this protects the patients from unlicensed possibly criminal acts and also protects the practice from liability, lawsuits and unethical treatment of patients entrusted in their care.
It can be argued that dentist or entities who hire associates and has not “credentialed” them properly are operating in an unethical and possibly illegal fashion. The American Dental Association maintains a Principle of Ethics and Code for Professional Conduct. (ADA.com)
Section 2 Principle: Nonmaleficence(Do no harm)
This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to protect the patient from harm. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include keeping knowledge and skills current, knowing one’s own limitations and when to refer to a specialist or other professional, and knowing when and under what circumstances the delegation of patient care to auxiliaries is appropriate.