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The Importance of the Compliance Hotline

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

#hotline #compliance #healthcare

The compliance hotline is often an overlooked component in an organization's compliance program. Yet, the hotline can provide organization's with a useful tool to help build trust and foster a compliance culture all the while allowing the organization to effectively review compliance concerns. Below are just a few of the reasons why compliance hotlines are so critical to an organization's compliance program.

Hotlines are the Top Detection Method

According to the 2018 Report to the Nations from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the number one detection methodology for fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) was via a compliance hotline. An estimated 40% of all instances of FWA in the workplace were discovered through a call to the compliance hotline and 53% of those calls came from employees. In addition, organizations with a compliance hotline felt less of a financial impact through FWA with an almost 50% difference in losses. Maintaining a compliance hotline is a vital lifeline for employees who want to report suspected concerns.

Protection from Retaliation

Hotlines are meant to be a safe haven for employees to report compliance concerns. Organizations that maintain a strict non-retaliation policy and encourages individuals who suspect or have knowledge of non-compliance or FWA to come forward are more likely to see a positive impact from maintaining a compliance hotline. It is important to remember that, as part of the False Claims Act, individuals who report concerns are protected from retaliation by federal law. Reinforcing this policy encourages employees to reach out if they believe they are a target of retaliation for good faith reporting.

A Commitment to Compliance

An organization's compliance program represents a shared undertaking on the part of all employees. Employees who are expected to take ownership of compliance and to perform all tasks with integrity. A compliance program helps ensure that everyone in the organization understands and complies with all related laws and policies as outlined in the organization's Code of Conduct. Without exception and when applied correctly, these standards apply to every colleague, active staff physician, and members of leadership. It is vital to any organization, its staff and its patients to take a proactive step towards ensuring continue to operate with integrity and embrace the responsibility of compliance. When organization's show a commitment to compliance, it's patients, staff and regulatory bodies take notice.

By Joel D. Kellner MS, CHC, CFE, CSSBB

Joel is a Managing Associate at Source 1 Healthcare Solutions. He has experience investigating compliance and FWA within many facets of the healthcare industry.

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