Excessive weight of compliance regulations has necessitated the need for more guided compliance support
Dr. Paul was just wrapping-up the recent OSHA audit. He was very frustrated as he was found to be in violation of more than a dozen OSHA regulations. Following the completion of his OSHA audit, he called the company he had entrusted with his compliance, Healthcare Compliance Solutions, Inc. (HCSI). After some discussion between Dr. Paul and the representative at HCSI, it was discovered that after Dr. Paul had purchased the HCSI Compliance Program, he did not fully incorporate the program into his seven locations that he was trying to support with the single compliance officer. Dr. Paul and HCSI worked together to ensure that the next audit, OSHA or HIPAA, would have a much different and positive result.
The case study described above really happened. It was this very situation that made it clear to everybody at HCSI that something different needed to be done in compliance support. Major changes were needed to the compliance industry and HCSI has taken it upon themselves to be the pioneer in the reformation process of healthcare compliance support.
Below is the list of the areas identified where changes are necessary:
- Training - It was previously thought that all an office needed was to train their employees once a year (if that) on compliance regulations while having a pizza party. Once the information was distributed, the employees would go about their days, having learned very little about the organization's procedures or the compliance regulations, and putting the organization at risk of a breach.
- Policies and Procedures - This is an issue that has proved to be very costly. The federal regulations require effective and written policies and procedures . For too many years this requirement has been taken lightly. Ineffective or incomplete manuals have become a plague on the healthcare industry. Many organizations simply say, "I have bought a manual, so I am compliant".
- Updating - The federal government requires every compliance program to be continuously updated. This necessitates the need to constant monitoring, adjusting, and retraining of compliance issues. This is either being done halfheartedly, in disarray, or in most cases, not at all.
- Support - Most organizations only call their compliance support company when they hit the panic button. As we learned in the case study at the beginning of this article, that is simply reactive when the goal with compliance is to be proactive.
The four points listed above are examples of how compliance is currently being supported in the healthcare industry. They are out-of-date and are simply ineffective in giving the healthcare industry the support it needs in order to comply with the federal regulations.
As previously stated, HCSI has taken it upon themselves to be the pioneer in the reformation process of healthcare compliance support. HCSI has recognized that in order to truly protect yourself from compliance liability and effectively adhere to the regulations, it is vital that a cultural change occur within the organization. By establishing a culture of compliance, any healthcare organization will be able to feel assured about their compliance adherence. In order to help healthcare organizations create a culture of compliance, here are the changes HCSI has made to compliance support in the healthcare industry:
- Training - Created effective online training where each employee is held accountable for their own training. Each administrator has control over adding, deleting, and monitoring their employees. At the end of each training module, a certificate of completion is printed as proof of employee compliance education.
- Policies and Procedures - Written policies and procedures that are effective in supporting the office are required. HCSI's Audit Manual contains required policies and procedures that the federal government agencies are looking for. In addition, HCSI has created an extensive Compliance Reference Guide that gives further support and understanding for Compliance Officers.
- Updating - The federal government calls compliance a "continuous journey" and it is this "journey" that they are looking for during an audit. For this reason, weekly, monthly, and quarterly updates are mailed out to each HCSI client. These quarterly updates are reviewed and initialed by each employee as an ongoing training initiative. These updates keep your employees and compliance staff up-to-date with current compliance information and are an important part of the "continuous journey" of compliance.
- Support - The excessive weight of compliance regulations are taking a toll on the healthcare industry. HCSI has recognized this issue and has addressed it. In order to help ease the weight of compliance, Utilizing Client Relationship Specialists (CRS), HCSI supports its clients in ways that are unique in the healthcare industry. Every new HCSI client receives a phone call on a quarterly basis. HCSI understands that this first year is critical in creating a culture of compliance within the organization. These quarterly calls are intended to support the administrators and ease their burden. After the first year, HCSI will reach-out to each of their clients multiple times throughout the year. Had this new process been in place previously, it would have helped prevent the OSHA violations Dr. Paul experienced in the case study. In addition to the proactive approach to support, HCSI talks with thousands of healthcare professionals who reach out to HCSI's CRS' for answers to their compliance questions. Nobody likes feeling as though they are in the dark. With effective compliance support, no healthcare professional has to feel that way.
- Additional Resources - In addition to training, policies, updating, and support, HCSI recognized one missing element of support that has been previously missing within the healthcare industry. Customizable forms, resource updates, informational blog, Facebook community, and a Linkedin group, are all additional ways the healthcare industry is able to receive, well over due, comprehensive compliance support.
As Dr. Paul learned in the case study, healthcare organizations are no longer able to simply buy a manual or do the bare minimum. Healthcare compliance support, as it stands now, is no longer a viable option as it is grossly ineffective in protecting the healthcare organization from liability, from protecting patient's information, and protecting the healthcare employees themselves.
HCSI is pioneering a new compliance support program that is revolutionizing how healthcare organizations are meeting the federal compliance regulations. To begin incorporating a culture of compliance within your healthcare organization, look to HCSI's Compliance Program.