While most healthcare providers have a compliance program in place, many providers have let their compliance risk assessments lapse or become outdated.
It is essential for medical practices to stay on top of compliance risk assessments to avoid costly fines and lawsuits. The healthcare compliance world is constantly changing and evolving, and an ongoing risk assessment will help to protect a practice.
To complete or update a compliance risk assessment:
- Determine what risks exist to the practice, then evaluate those risks.
- Finally, a practice should use available resources to address the most significant risks.
Compliance risk assessments will help find blind spots, show employees that management cares about their concerns and are proactive, and reduce potential governmental fines and penalties. Healthcare entities should prioritize these risk assessments, as they are now required by the government. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has stated that periodic risk assessments are the starting point of a well-designed compliance program.
Compliance plans must be updated routinely and regularly. Staff should be aware of and engaged with the practice’s compliance program.
So how do you perform a compliance risk assessment? Work with a healthcare attorney to:
- identify risks
- assess risks for potential likelihood and impact
- create a workplan which will likely include audits, monitoring, education, updates to policies and procedures, and implementation of any necessary technology
- have an established process in place to continue monitoring risks and compliance
- make sure that staff is thoroughly trained
It is essential that a compliance plan is well-used, familiar to all staff, and involves the entire office. Leaders should ask: if a government official were to come to the practice, would all of the employees be able to comprehensively discuss the compliance plan and risk assessment?
If not, now is the time to act. When it comes to compliance, a proactive approach is essential to protect the healthcare practice.
Source: Rickard & Associates, an Affiliate Partner of TPA, provides members with a broad range of business legal services at preferred pricing. Contact them for help with compliance and HIPAA readiness, employment issues, contract negotiation and more.