Why Everyone Should Be Thankful for Their Compliance Programs

As we head into the 2020 holiday season, it may not be immediately clear what we have to be thankful for this already infamous year. As case counts continue to rise, compliance challenges continue to evolve, and our lives continue being spent increasingly indoors, there’s no two ways about it: times are strange. But while it has been a crazy year, we thought the time was right to take a look back over the past 11 months and find out just what it is we have to be thankful for.

After all, we compliance professionals are a resilient bunch. We’re always up for a challenge, and are committed to finding new ways to solve them as they arise.

Some of you may be most thankful for the 1135 waivers that provide welcome leniency around EMTALA, Stark self-referral sanctions, and more. While others may be welcoming the new 2021 E/M updates (despite all the preparation work it takes to become compliant), viewing them as a long overdue update to an antiquated system.  Around here, when I thought of all that we had to be thankful for, I started by looking at the seven elements of an effective compliance to see which of those elements really supported compliance programs over this crazy year. Then, I narrowed our list down to items that had supported compliance programs in the most meaningful way. Some of the questions I asked were:

  • How did this element support an organization’s bottom line?
  • What way was our risk mitigated as a result of this element?
  • Why did this element help support our patients’ care and privacy?

Finally, I went back in time to gain some historical perspective. Sure, this is a weird year, but you know what? In doing so, I was able to draw a number of parallels from the things a compliance program supported this year, with what an effective compliance program had done in years past. Suddenly, I was amazed with the parallels. It dawned on me: compliance programs, when done right, serve to support the mission of its organization, no matter what difficulties we face. To paraphrase a friend of mine, Charla Prillaman: “Compliance professionals are not the police force, they are the firefighters. They help to minimize fires from ever happening, and when a fire does occur, we put them out before significant damage is done. And that philosophy hasn’t changed this year, even if seemingly everything else has this year.

If you’d like to read about everything I’m thankful for this year (and in year’s past), download my latest eBrief, “5 Reasons to be Thankful for Your Compliance Program this Year,” for a seasonally-inspired read. I hope it can help remind you of how important the work you do is. Inside, you’ll find my top-five things I’m thankful compliance programs have the power to do, including:

  • Serve as the Final Line of Defense for Your Organization
  • Prevent Issues of Non-compliance or Illegal Actions Before it Happens
  • Protect Patients from Harmful Care, or Unauthorized Use of Personal Medical Information
  • Ensure the Mission of Your Organization Stays Intact
  • Correct Actions of Non-compliance with a Well-documented Plan

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What has your compliance program done this year that’s made you thankful? Let us know in the comments below…

Questions or Comments?