We are on the eve of our 20th anniversary and I want to share a brief history of our time. About 20 years ago I was asked to be the compliance officer for the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation by a forward thinking COO named Marc Dettmann. I was given a copy of the Sentencing Guidelines and a business card of a compliance officer named Mary Dunaway. She and I set up a one day conference for compliance officers in Minneapolis, 30 were invited… 60 showed up.
At the end of the meeting I suggested we form a group. At dinner, Brent Saunders and I wrote the name and a mission statement for HCCA on the back of a napkin. Don’t ask, it’s lost, who knew a napkin would be relevant? The next day I asked Debbie Troklus to help. (8,600+ people from 70 countries currently hold a compliance credential she created.) Modern Healthcare Magazine called and wanted to do a story on compliance officers. They put me and the statement “Growth Industry” on the cover. That helped the evolution of the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA). After some success the Board approved a proposal to have Dan Roach and Odell Guyton start the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE). At one point there were 3 members, now there are over 15,500 from about 80 countries. The problem with a short story about the evolution of an organization like SCCE/HCCA is that you have to leave out hundreds of very important people like Boehme, Murphy, Vacca, and on and on and on. Every Board member, employee and volunteer helped to get SCCE/HCCA where it is today.
Modern Healthcare seems to have made an accurate prediction, “Growth Industry.” It may seem like an easy prediction in hindsight, but I assure you it was a leap of faith at the time. Some said compliance would simply be another methodology like Total Quality Management and fade away. Some thought it would be just another activity of the legal department and follow the path of preventative law. Ethicists downplayed compliance to focus on culture. Risk thought compliance was a subset of risk. Audit thought it was their responsibility but did not commit. Some just simply didn’t want compliance. Many people intentionally or unintentionally tried to grab the wheel and head for the ditch. However, countless volunteers and staff created a framework called SCCE/HCCA that allowed thousands of compliance professionals to represent and define their profession. The profession leading the profession… as it should be.
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