Primary Source Verification of Credentials

The November 2014 newsletter of Behavioral Health Resources, LLC provides information about the CARF standards for Human Resources.

CARF Standard 1.I.2.a(b)  –  Human Resources.   This Primary-Sourcestandard in the Human Resources section of the 2014 BH/CYS/OTP Standards Manuals states that organization should implement written procedures to obtain primary source verification for all credentials of personnel including  licensure.

What is Primary Source Verification?  Verification of credentials should be obtained from the original source to determine the accuracy of the qualifications of an individual health care practitioner. Examples of primary source verification include, but are not limited to, direct correspondence, telephone verification and internet verifications.  (The original source is the academic institution or professional licensing authority.)

Licensure Search in NebraskaExamples of Appropriate Verification.  Examples include an original letter from the proper authority, an official copy of the college transcript mailed directly from the academic institution to the employer, and a copy of the webpage listing from the licensing authority.  (For an example of how to obtain professional licensure search in Nebraska, click here.)

The CARF Examples statement for this standard indicates that primary source verification is not needed for high school diplomas.   Because primary source verification of education and degrees is obtained when a professional obtains state or provincial licensure, this is not needed by the employer if primary source verification is obtained for the professional licensure (unless required by the organization’s policies).

For documents that are obtained from the original authority via Internet webpages, it is suggested that additional validation be provided by the organization.  This could include the signature and date on the file document of the person who obtained the primary source verification.  (CARF surveyors periodically suggest this additional step.)

Types of Verification to Avoid.   Copies of licenses, credentials, college transcript, etc. provided by personnel do NOT meet the primary source verification requirement.

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