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Clinical Care and Practice Advancement

Hospital Practice

How do I obtain hospital privileges?

There are key areas to look at when trying to obtain hospital privileges:

  1. Assessing the players — know in advance who or what groups or individuals will be involved in the application process at the hospital (e.g., credentialing, bylaws, privileges, etc.); will there be opposition or support for you and from whom? Be prepared and lay the groundwork before approaching the hospital. Obtain a copy of the Bylaws to review the optometrist's status for appointment.

  2. Making application — some hospitals have a formal application and others will simply ask for a letter indicating your interest in applying for privileges. You will be asked to specify the staff category for which you are applying. Hospital bylaws will specify the categories of providers or may need to be amended for the O.D. Generally, the O.D. should have the same position as a dentist. You will then have to request clinical privileges.

  3. Credentialing — shows that you are qualified to perform the procedures that you requested. (See Credentialing Checklist below.)

  4. Privileging — delineates exactly what procedures and services you can perform in the hospital. (See AOA Hospital Privileges manual for sample request forms.) To assist you in obtaining hospital privileges, the Hospital Practice Committee has the following information available through the AOA St. Louis office (1-800-365-2219, ext. 4237 or 4245):

    1. A Hospital Privileges folder of information giving facts about optometry and optometric services in hospitals, guidelines for delineation of clinical privileges for optometry, and several informational articles from optometry journals.

    2. The Optometric Hospital Privileges manual, which gives more indepth information on obtaining hospital privileges, legal issues, bylaws, credentialing, privileging, hospital-based optometric examinations, sample forms, etc. It is available online.