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October 15, 2021 at 4:00 PM CT

COVID-19 national public health emergency extension

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extended the COVID-19 national public health emergency by another 90 days. It was scheduled to end Oct. 17, 2021 and now is scheduled through Jan. 15, 2022. The Summary of COVID-19 Temporary Program ProvisionsCOVID-19 Billing Guide and UHCprovider.com/COVID19 web pages have been updated to reflect this extension.

COVID-19 Credentialing Updates

Last update: June 29, 2021, 4:00 p.m. CT

Effective July 1, 2021, UnitedHealthcare resumes our standard credentialing and recredentialing process and policies. These are consistent with National Council on Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards, as well as any specific state and federal regulations for participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Some states may have additional requirements as part of the credentialing and recredentialing process.

Any temporary changes that were put in place to support practices and facilities from March 19, 2020 through June 30, 2021 will no longer apply. This includes:

Provisional Credentialing

Provisional credentialing status will no longer be granted. Standard credentialing and contracting processes and requirements apply and must be completed prior to seeing UnitedHealthcare members. This includes health care professionals who may:

  • Be currently out-of-network for UnitedHealthcare plans
  • Come out of retirement to assist practices or facilities with staffing shortages
  • Be currently credentialed but want to practice in a new location or across state lines

Recredentialing

Recredentialing is required every 36 months, as was the case prior to March 19, 2020.

Site Visits

Site visit requirements for health care practitioners and facilities should be completed or collected, as required, unless federal, state and local restrictions prohibit such visits. Exceptions should be documented in the health care professional’s file.


Credentialing is required for all licensed individual health care professionals in order to participate in the UnitedHealthcare networks and prior to seeing UnitedHealthcare members. Credentialing assesses qualifications, relevant training, licensure, certification and/or registration to practice. We use this process to help make sure those in our network have the credentials we require to care for our members.

For more information, visit our Join the Network pages and review these Frequently Asked Questions.

Delegated Credentialing Entities – Update

Effective July 1, 2021, UnitedHealthcare resumes our standard credentialing process and policies, consistent with National Council on Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. Any temporary changes that were put in place to support practices and facilities from March 19, 2020 through June 30, 2021 will no longer apply. This applies to out-of-network care health care professionals who are licensed independent practitioners and want to participate in one or more of our networks.

Delegated Credentialing Requirements

  • Credentialing: Provisional credentialing status may be granted for no more than 60 days. Full credentialing must be completed before the end of the 60-day provisional status.
  • Recredentialing: Must be completed every 36 months.
  • Site visits: Requirements for health care practitioners and facilities should be completed or collected, as required, unless federal, state and local restrictions prohibit such visits. Exceptions should be documented in the health care professional’s file.

Annual Assessments
As of July 1, 2021, UnitedHealthcare’s Delegation Oversight team will complete annual assessments within 12 – 14 months of the prior assessment. All assessments will be performed virtually. 

Improvement Action Plans
Improvement Action Plans (IAPs) should be remediated, as scheduled, by the Delegated Credentialing Entity and the UnitedHealthcare Delegation Oversight Team. 

Provisional Credentialing

If warranted, Delegated Credentialing Entities may implement a provisional credentialing process consistent with the standards set forth by NCQA in order to expedite member’s access to health care professionals. The provisional credentialing process includes:

  • Receipt of a completed application with a current attestation
  • Primary source verification of a current, valid license to practice
  • Review of malpractice history
  • Evidence of adequate professional liability insurance
  • Completion of the full credentialing process within 60 calendar days from when provisional credentialing is granted

Disclaimer:

The benefits and processes described on this website apply pursuant to federal requirements and UnitedHealthcare national policy during the national emergency.  Additional benefits or limitations may apply in some states and under some plans during this time.

We will adjudicate benefits in accordance with the member’s health plan.

Medicaid Providers: UnitedHealthcare will reimburse out-of-network providers for COVID-19 testing-related visits and COVID-19 related treatment or services according to the rates outlined in the Medicaid Fee Schedule.