New Platform to Mobilize Volunteer Health Care Professionals During COVID-19 Launches

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 21, 2021) – A new online platform to help mobilize volunteer health care professionals to treat patients during COVID-19 has officially launched, just as the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing across the country. Provider Bridge (ProviderBridge.org), supports license portability by making it easier to connect volunteer health care professionals with state agencies and health care entities in order to quickly increase access to care for patients in rural and underserved communities.

Provider Bridge was developed by FSMB and made possible by grant funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Provider Bridge is powered by data and resources from the FSMB and organizations across the U.S. health care system, including the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The Provider Bridge platform is currently available for use by physicians and physician assistants (PAs) with plans to expand access to nurses and other health care professionals in the near future.

Physicians and physician assistants (PAs) interested in joining the fight against COVID-19 can use Provider Bridge to register and identify themselves as willing to treat patients via telehealth and in-person care. Volunteers will have their license credentials instantly verified and receive a digital document called a Provider Bridge Passport. The Passport contains information about active licenses, specialty certifications, DEA Registration Numbers, NPI numbers and disciplinary history from state medical boards. Volunteers can then submit their Passport to health care entities such as hospitals and health departments to begin treating patients quickly in areas where they are most needed.

“Provider Bridge creates a historic and timely opportunity in the middle of a pandemic to expand license portability, facilitate telehealth and build upon FSMB’s work towards greater digitization and access to essential regulatory data,” said Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP, President and CEO of the FSMB. “We are grateful to HRSA and their staff for working with us to help increase access to care, especially in rural and underserved communities, to combat COVID-19 and better prepare for future public health emergencies.”

“HRSA welcomes the addition of the Provider Bridge website to address the COVID-19 pandemic response by creating resources that address challenges for telehealth providers that will encourage a streamlined process for multi-state licensure procedures and support increased access to healthcare in rural communities,” said Heather Dimeris, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Provider Bridge streamlines the mobilization of health care professionals and supports license portability by:

  • Providing a directory of state and federal COVID-19 resources related to license portability
  • Offering a dedicated customer service hub to help health care professionals navigate current state licensure requirements, including those specific to telehealth, during states of emergency
  • Utilizing a technology platform to allow health care professionals to register and identify themselves as willing to treat patients via telehealth in highly impacted areas
  • Producing the Provider Bridge Passport, the official, digital document of licensure information that can be submitted to health care entities and other state agencies during states of emergency

Provider Bridge makes it easier for state agencies and health care entities to connect with registered health care professionals to expand workforce needs by:

  • Providing access to a database of information for verified, volunteer health professionals willing to provide telehealth services during emergencies

About the Federation of State Medical Boards

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national non-profit organization representing the 71 medical boards within the United States and its territories that license and discipline allopathic and osteopathic physicians and, in some jurisdictions, other health care professionals. The FSMB serves as the voice for state medical boards, supporting them through education, assessment, research and advocacy while providing services and initiatives that promote patient safety, quality health care and regulatory best practices. The FSMB serves the public through Docinfo.org, a free physician search tool which provides background information on the nearly 1 million doctors in the United States. To learn more about FSMB, visit www.fsmb.org. and follow FSMB on Twitter (@theFSMB).

About the Health Resources and Services Administration

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

HRSA programs help those in need of high-quality primary health care, people with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and mothers. HRSA also supports the training of health professionals, the distribution of providers to areas where they are needed most and improvements in health care delivery.

HRSA oversees organ, bone marrow and cord blood donation. It compensates individuals harmed by vaccination, and maintains databases that protect against health care malpractice, waste, fraud and abuse.

Since 1943 the agencies that were HRSA precursors have worked to improve the health of needy people. HRSA was created in 1982, when the Health Resources Administration and the Health Services Administration were merged.

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