Margaret C. Scavotto, JD, CHC
President, Management Performance Associates
At the risk of getting some Billboard top ten 1980’s Janet Jackson lyrics stuck in your head for the rest of the day, I’d like to ask you an important question:
What has compliance done for you lately?
Phrased another way:
How has your compliance program helped your organization this year?
Did your hotline encourage employees to report potential false claims internally, so they could be self-reported? Did this hotline call possibly avoid a whistleblower situation?
Did routine compliance audits find a documentation issue – so you could correct it before it became a widespread problem?
Maybe the compliance department collaborated with the HIPAA Security Officer to run a ransomware and phishing campaign, educating employees about potentially hazardous emails and links. As a result, the Compliance Officer and Security Officer received dozens of calls from employees reporting suspicious emails and links that potentially contained ransomware or malware. Can you put a price tag on potentially avoiding a costly ransomware attack?
Did your quality assurance program reduce adverse events? Lower the amount of pressure ulcers? Improve patient care? Did that lead to an increase in census? Higher patient satisfaction? Positive perception in the community?
Perhaps your annual employee compliance survey shows a more supportive workplace due to the compliance education effort the compliance department put in place, and that employee turnover has also decreased.
What else did compliance do? Did compliance boost the bottom line? Make it easier for employees to do their jobs? What processes did compliance improve? How did the compliance department contribute to your organization’s culture? Make your company a better place to work? A better place to receive care?
Once you have taken a moment to tally up everything your compliance program has done for your organization this year, ask a second question:
Who did you tell?
Did you tell your board? (Or the president, or CEO, or whomever else is at the helm of your organization?)
Did you tell your managers, so they can see how the compliance department is working for them?
Does the marketing department use compliance data showing improvement in quality assurance scores?
Who is in charge of the budget? Do they know about the compliance team’s accomplishments? Do they know that investments in compliance could yield greater advances in quality care, patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, billing accuracy, occupancy, and more?
I hear so often from compliance officers who have trouble getting money in the budget for compliance, or getting compliance projects treated as a priority. So I ask them: What has compliance done for you lately? A lot, I bet. Who have you told? Because if you don’t tell anyone, your organization might not know how powerful your compliance effort really is. And as Janet would say, ain’t that a shame?