In my opinion, the two main purposes of references are to 1) build your file for a defense that you believed the provider was credible and 2) present a provider to a client that they will accept.  So, the short answer to what is acceptable is would the references you have on file help defend why you presented that provider to a client and are those references going to be accepted by the Client when they undergo Credentialing.  The parameters for the above can depend on the agency.  But, some of the generally accepted considerations are:

  • Is the referring provider in the same specialty?
  • Has the referring provider worked directly with the candidate in the past 2 years.
    • If not, this is not a credible reference.  If so, how long have they worked with them?  If in the last 2 years they only worked 1 day together, some might not qualify that as a credible reference.
  • Has the referring provider "shared patients" with the candidate?  In todays Healthcare environment, sometimes it is impossible to obtain a reference where the provider worked directly with the candidate and you have to rely on their shared patients.  This can be anything from the candidate covering the referring physicians patients while the referring physician was on vacation to a hospitalist position where the candidate and the referring physician treat the same patient.  It is important to note that if you are relying on this type of relationship for a credible reference, you might want to ensure there are adequate "minimum contacts" between the two providers so that you are confident the referring provider has a solid foundation of the quality of the candidate.  The requisite amount of "minimum contacts" can vary from one agency to another.

What is an acceptable reference for a Provider?