Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Preventing Harassment Depends On Your Organizational Culture

Individual behaviors do not present as much of a risk factor for harassment as does the organizations' culture

Sarah was surprised when Mike came into her office to file a harassment complaint. Everyone within the organization had just completed Harassment Training the previous week, but yet here is Mike sitting in Sarah's office. Mike is complaining that he is being bullied in the office by multiple staff members. Sarah is very aware that this is covered within the organizations Harassment Training, so why was it happening? This situation has the potential of getting messy and dragging on for quite sometime.

Harassment is a decision made by an individual when his or her 
work environment allows for it.

Yes, the above statement is a hard fact to face. When an individual decides to take action in an inappropriate manner, that decision was made using various factors:
  • What is the character of the individual in question?
  • Does he or she have a history of inappropriate actions or words, but not held accountable for those actions or words?
  • Did the individuals' supervisor report any suspicious activity, words, or mannerisms?
  • Is there motivation behind the individuals actions or words?
All of the above questions do not necessarily point to the individual, but rather the organization and the culture that lives within that organization. Harassment thrives in organizations that lack respect, a healthy culture, and accountability.

Victoria Lipnic of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated the following:
"Too much of the effort and training to prevent workplace harassment over the last 30 years has been ineffective an focused on simply avoiding legal liability. In simplest terms, training must change. That does not mean we are suggesting that training be thrown out - far from it - but training needs to be part of a holistic, committed effort to combat harassment, focused on the specific culture and needs of a particular workplace. Above all, employees must have faith in the system." (1)

Simply having a reactive system in place that responds to harassment claims is not enough. Out of fear of retribution, employees may not report the harassment when it occurs. It is becoming vital for organizations to lessen the opportunity for harassment from happening so significantly, that it is nearly non-existent within the organization. This type of harassment free environment is created from the culture that exist within the organization. Here are some suggestions to help create a harassment free culture:
  • Hire not just for skills and knowledge. The character of the individual must be a top priority when considering who to bring into the organization.
  • When an individual does act inappropriately, they must be held accountable. A slap on the wrist or a simple "tongue lashing" will not deter the individual or others from inappropriate actions in the future.
  • Effective supervisor training is a critical component. Supervisors must receive proper training that enables them to identify strange behaviors, words spoken, or mannerisms. When something odd occurs, it should be documented and monitored.
  • Create an environment of positive thinking, mutual respect, and support for fellow co-workers.
  • Ensure that your harassment policies are equal for everyone within your organization. One classification of worker should not have an advantage over another or receive special treatment.
  • Be sure everyone within the organization (at all levels) receives harassment training and this training is acknowledged through documentation. As part of your harassment training, ensure that all members of the organization understand what is considered harassment.
  • False harassment accusations should not be tolerated. A growing number of employees have been falsely accusing their co-worker of harassment in order to gain a competitive advantage over that co-worker.
Creating a "harassment free" culture within your organization will never completely eliminate harassment from occurring. However, it will greatly reduce the opportunity for it to occur.

Don't put your organization at risk by having a reactive approach to harassment. Take measures to be more proactive in your approach. Your employees will be grateful for the safer work environment that will be created and it will reduce the liability risk to the organization.

Individuals will be who they are. Try to ensure that you have the best people within your organization who, through their character, actions, and words are representatives of an organizational culture that you can be proud of!

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Should HIPAA Be A Global Standard?

Is healthcare a basic human right or a privilege?

Where do patient rights regarding personal health information privacy, security and portability begin and end in a global healthcare reality?

Should there be a global standard for the expression of what HIPAA is trying to accomplish? Many countries have there own versions of "HIPAA" (Canada's PHIPA for example) albeit usually in many less volumes of bureaucracy then the United States version.  What about Europe, China, India, any developing countries?  Many of our Pharmaceuticals come from laboratories in India, medical supplies from Asia, various patient data services offshore to many locations.  Patient insurance portability for healthcare across state lines or country boarders... All these issues bring to mind these topics for discussion:  Should there be a "Global" standard for Healthcare, insurance portability and basic human rights to PHI privacy and security?  

What are your thoughts? Please join the discussion.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The DOL’s New FMLA Poster and Your FLMA Policy


Do You Need To Post The New FMLA Poster?

In April 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new “Employee Rights Under The Family And Medical Leave Act” poster, to replace the prior poster on this subject.  The DOL has stated that the old poster (revised Feb. 2013) is still valid and can continue to be used – until further notice – to meet the posting requirement under the FMLA regulations. 
(Note: HCSI clients can also download this poster from the "Employment Law (HR)" section in the "Updates/News" area of our website 
The big question: If you already have an FMLA poster on your break room bulletin board, are you now required to display this new poster instead?  The answer is no, you don't have to post this new version as long as you are currently displaying a legal FMLA poster.  (The DOL poster that was last updated in 2013 is still valid).

The new 2016 version contains basically the same information as the 2013 poster, but the new version is organized in a more reader-friendly format. This version also adds more color to the poster. Plus, it highlights the DOL's contact information to file a complaint.

You do not need to rush to update your poster but... yet just as daylight saving time is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, now is a good time to review your FMLA policy to ensure that it contains all of the information that is on the new poster.  Of course, it is to your benefit to include additional provisions in your policy, such as a prohibition on the misuse of FMLA leave.  At a minimum, all of the information that is in the poster must be included.

This is a great time to re-evaluate your FMLA policy and make sure that your policy is updated to reflect and address all the entitlements and requirements of the new poster.  The FMLA regulations provide that, if an FMLA-covered employer has any FMLA-eligible employees, and if the employer has a written policy on the subject of leave/benefits, then the employer must ensure that its policy contains the same information that is in the FMLA poster.  (The notice requirements are discussed at pp. 12-13 of the helpful new publication from the DOL, “The Employer’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act”.)

 Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide
Note that “all” means “all”; your policy must include, for example, not only information about the employee’s rights and responsibilities, but also the information in the poster regarding the employer’s responsibilities, along with enforcement information such as the employee’s right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the DOL’s contact information.

Some employers may choose to comply with the FMLA notice regulations by attaching a copy of the FMLA poster to their employee handbook, instead of incorporating all of the language in the poster into their FLMA policy.  If that’s your approach, just ensure that you update the attachment with the new poster.  Either way, however, you should make sure that your policy is compliant.  Because the information in the poster represents basic FMLA information, you should take steps to review and, if necessary, revise your FMLA policy now, even if you wait to hang up the new FMLA poster.

Source(s): https://www.dol.govhttp://www.jdsupra.comhttp://www.lexology.com, HCSI

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Friday, June 3, 2016

How HCSI is Making a Difference in the Healthcare Industry

By creating a compliance service that has supported the efforts and improvements of thousands of healthcare professionals all across the nation, HCSI has made a difference!

There is a current trend in the healthcare industry. Companies have been created with the sole purpose of compliance training for healthcare offices. This "rash" is irritating and annoying. These type of "training" companies do not care about the healthcare organization, their employees, the success of the administrators, or their patients. Healthcare offices itch and itch at this "rash" hoping it will feel better. "If I only do my compliance training, everything will be alright.". Only doing compliance training is like scratching at an irritating "rash", it will not make things better and the rash will never go away.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has said that compliance is a "continuous journey". They are not looking to see if employees are simply trained in compliance as that is not enough! It is all about the "continuous journey" and not the final destination. Having a "rash" is not the final destination. There is no final destination in compliance!

It is the "continuous journey" of compliance that the OCR is looking for. They want healthcare professionals to have a sort of culture of compliance as part of their organization. Here is what the OCR is looking for:
  • Established and written policies and procedures
  • Documentation . . . about everything
  • Continuous improvement
  • Compliance education (yes, training is only one part of compliance)
  • Self-Audits
  • Accountability
  • Effort, attitude, and mindset
Yes, there is an ointment to this compliance training "rash"!

For more than 30 years, Healthcare Compliance Solutions, Inc. (HCSI) has been working with healthcare professionals. HCSI has a compliance service that will cure that irritating training "rash" which as been plaguing healthcare offices' for many years. When a healthcare office becomes a Compliance Business Partner with HCSI, they begin their "continuous journey" of compliance by having:
  • Established and written policies and procedures (Policy Manual)
  • Documentation (Forms)
  • Continuous improvement (Updates)
  • Compliance education (Training Modules in HIPAA, OSHA, HR, Medicare)
  • Self-Audits (Customization)
  • Accountability (Employee Progress Tracking)
  • Effort, attitude, and mindset (Support, Reference Manual, and Social Media)
HCSI's compliance service is not about only training and giving healthcare organizations a "rash". It is about creating an effective partnership that will help healthcare organizations establish a culture of compliance within their office by helping and supporting the organization, their employees, their administrator, compliance officers and their patients. HCSI has been making a difference in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years and HCSI will continue to make a difference for many years to come!

Remember, compliance it is not about having a "rash". Compliance is about a "continuous journey" and HCSI will be riding shotgun and sitting right beside you on this journey of compliance!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact

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