Vetting and Credentialing: A Necessary Part of the Volunteer Process

Volunteer medical teams call the Doctors Residence their home during their week long stay. Photo Courtesy Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center

No one likes forms and nearly everyone has something better to do than fill them out. But volunteering for CRUDEM at Hôpital Sacré Coeur requires a rigorous vetting and credentialing process. Volunteering at Hôpital Sacré Coeur is not a vacation. It requires the same level of dedication and professionalism as any position in a hospital in the United States. Indeed, all of us who travel to Milot occupy a position of trust and exercise a special franchise while working at the hospital. It is, therefore, incumbent on CRUDEM to make inquires and verify representations before approving a volunteer for travel to Hôpital Sacré Coeur. And this means that prospective volunteers must complete and submit a series of forms to CRUDEM’s volunteer coordinator, Deb Payne-Motyl, who is responsible for the screening process. In addition to verifying a volunteer’s license and corroborating information contained in the application, Deb queries a criminal history database to determine whether special scrutiny should be given to a particular applicant. This is a much more comprehensive—perhaps even intrusive—process than prospective volunteers have experienced in the past. But CRUDEM has a legal and moral obligation to undertake this vetting process. To ignore this responsibility would be to jeopardize the future of the foundation and the hospital. Times change and we must change with them.

Specifically, The CRUDEM Foundation requires each volunteer to submit an application, a copy of their medical diploma (physicians only), a copy of their current license, a current C.V., a color copy of the data page of their passport, a CMMB form that provides emergency contact information and personal medical details (in case of emergency), a waiver of liability, Notification/Authorization/Release of information forms, a signed agreement to read the Policies and Guidelines and to abide by the Code of Conduct. Volunteers are also provided with a copy of the CRUDEM Whistleblower Policy.

Mission House has hosted thousands of volunteers over its 15 year history. During the 2010 earthquake relief effort, it served as Command Central. Photo Courtesy Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center

While getting through the forms is not a happy task, their completion does assist CRUDEM in ensuring that any volunteer who is cleared for travel to Milot is qualified and appropriately vetted. The forms also help us to match volunteer skillsets with specific hospital needs. While we are eager to provide a meaningful experience to each volunteer, the hospital’s requirements are the most important consideration. The forms help CRUDEM determine how a prospective volunteer can be put to his/her highest and best use at Hôpital Sacré Coeur.

Once approved, volunteers are expected to conduct themselves as they would at their place of work. If a practice or procedure would not be permitted in U.S. hospital, it should not be attempted at Hôpital Sacré Coeur. Volunteers at Hôpital Sacré Coeur are required to comply with the laws of Haiti. As a rule of thumb, if a particular behavior or action is not lawful in the US, it is probably not lawful in Haiti and should not occur at Hôpital Sacré Coeur. Since the conduct of volunteers is a direct reflection on The CRUDEM Foundation/Hôpital Sacré Coeur and its mission, all volunteers are required to certify their commitment to the highest standards of ethical conduct and agree unreservedly to comply with the following requirements:

• To respect the inherent dignity of every individual who comes to Hôpital Sacré Coeur for care or otherwise is present on the grounds
   of the hospital;

• To adhere to all applicable laws, rules and regulations;

• To comply with The CRUDEM Foundation/Hôpital Sacré Coeur Polices and Guidelines for Volunteers

• To respect the authority of Hôpital Sacré Coeur management, including the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Nursing Officer and the Chief Financial Officer;

• To tell the truth and respect co-workers, patients, family members of patients; and members of the Milot community;

• To collaborate with hospital management and co-workers in order to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and collegiality;

• To recognize the great responsibility Hôpital Sacré Coeur has to protect the children who come to the hospital for care or are otherwise present on the hospital grounds;

• To protect these children by—
    o Not engaging in any overt or covert sexual behaviors with any child or in the presence of any child;
    o Not making sexual comments, jokes or innuendos when in the presence of any child;
    o Not being alone with any child; and
    o Not engaging in any behavior or conduct that gives the appearance of impropriety;

• To be attentive to warning signs that might indicate child abuse, including sexual abuse, and to report same to hospital management;

• To honestly and conscientiously discharge your duties at Hôpital Sacré Coeur;

• To work within the limits of your position, professional competence and, where applicable, license, certification, etc.

• To seek appropriate referrals and consultations when issues arise that require the assistance of other professionals and readily seek the advice of supervisors or others in authority when necessary;

• To respect and protect patient privacy;

• To respect and protect patient property; and

• To respect and protect hospital property.

While CRUDEM’s new vetting and credentialing procedure may seem overly bureaucratic to some, we ask that you complete and submit the necessary forms in accordance with the instructions and in a timely manner. Prospective volunteers who do otherwise will not be cleared for travel to Milot. The foundation’s legal and moral obligations are clear and to permit volunteers to travel to Milot without first having followed the process described above could have dire consequences for CRUDEM and Hôpital Sacré Coeur. In view of our mission and lives held in the balance, the stakes could not be higher.