What are Your New Year’s Compliance Resolutions?

Happy New Year! It’s a fresh start. You can’t change the past, but you have a great deal of control of what you are going to do in this upcoming year. So, forget the past and make some resolutions. Specifically, make some compliance resolutions!  Will Durant is credited with interpreting Aristotle by saying, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” What compliance areas do you want to excel in this year?

Continual Learning

Compliance professionals need to be continually learning. Whether it is a new law or regulation or perhaps your organization is branching out with new services or acquiring another organization. In these scenarios, compliance professionals have to apply compliance principles to new content or subject areas. What are some topics or skills you can resolve to learn this year?

We know enforcement agencies are becoming savvier by using data analytics to find the needles of non-compliance in the larger haystack of healthcare activities. Maybe take a free online course about data analytics or read a book in this area. You don’t have to become an expert, but learning how data analytics apply to your organization can demonstrate a maturing compliance program.

Perhaps you want to learn a new skill. For example, learn some new leadership or communication skills. Maybe it will be along the lines of, “How can I better communicate compliance issues with colleagues who don’t eat and breathe compliance all day?” Or learn how to integrate adult learning concepts into your compliance training sessions or modules.

Set some goals and learn new things this year!


Ask a respected compliance colleague about people who helped them when they began their career. You will almost certainly hear them speak of one or two individuals who had a significant impact on their career. Listen to the gratitude in their voice when they tell stories and share learning moments. Then, resolve to be that kind of mentor to someone who might be earlier in their career path. You will find significant meaning and likely develop a long-lasting friendship with your mentee. It doesn’t have to be official. Just help a colleague out. Then help them out again and again. That’s a simple way to begin mentoring.


Get outside your shy shell and meet new people in compliance. Make a special effort to meet people who are subject matter experts in a topic that you are NOT an expert in. This can be done at in-person conferences of course, but nowadays, you can network on various social media platforms as well. Social media might be especially appealing to individuals who are shy. At conferences, attend sessions that you don’t know very much about. Then, introduce yourself after the session or email the speaker later. Ask them about their areas of expertise and watch your professional network grow. Later, if a compliance allegation is reported and you know nothing about the topic, you might have someone in your network who could give you some high-level guidance on how to approach the issue.

Stop Avoiding that Gnawing Issue

Sometimes compliance professionals focus their attention on what works well in their program. Maybe you have great HIPAA training or a superb billing compliance audit schedule. Because it has been successful, you might tend to focus your efforts there at the expense of dealing with the gnawing issue that you have not wanted to resolve. Maybe you can see where the issue is headed, and it will require escalation to a level in the organization that you typically don’t present issues to. Maybe you’ve left it alone because you suspect there might be a large payback or refund you will need to make. Or perhaps the people involved in the issue are uncooperative or just plain prickly.

Typically, if something is gnawing at you, that is your compliance intuition speaking. It’s your compliance ‘spidey-sense.’ Follow it! It is typically leading you in the right direction (as far as uncovering potential compliance issues is concerned). Sometimes you’ve built the issue in your head to be much bigger than it is. Or maybe you are spot on in your estimation, and it is that big of a deal. Well, that is why your organization hired you as a compliance officer or professional. They might not be excited to hear about a significant compliance issue, but it is highly likely they would rather get it resolved than ignore it and watch it become a larger issue. However, if executive leadership does want to ignore it, it’s better to learn that sooner rather than later so you know exactly the kind of culture the organization has when push comes to shove. Knowing that truth about your organization will guide your future decision-making about staying and fighting the fight or deciding to move on to greener pastures.


These are just some ideas to get the resolution juices flowing. Whatever you do, make sure the resolutions make sense for you and your compliance program. Don’t base your resolutions on what someone else might be doing. The most meaningful resolutions are personal and get to the heart of the matter of what really needs to change this year!

Once you’ve made your resolutions, write them down and share them with a trusted colleague or friend and ask that person to check in with you occasionally for updates on how you’re doing. If resolutions stay only in our minds, they are more likely to only be wishes. If you want to commit, write it down and share it! Good luck in this new year and create those habits that will lead to compliance excellence!


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