As guidelines and laws increase in healthcare on both the state and federal level, healthcare organizations are being held to high standards for compliance. While the rules are created to protect the patient, staff, and private information, the complexity of the laws have become so involved that there is a requirement for a Healthcare Compliance Officer (HCO) to oversee that regulations are accommodated easily and efficiently within their organization.
The priority of having an HCO helps to assure that a healthcare organization has established the requirements needed to assure that a breach of compliancy has less of a chance of occurring and a line of communication as well as corrective actions in the case that one does happen. Regulation violations can not only cause patient compromise and/or safety but can result in a litany of financial and legal penalties for a healthcare organization.
Larger healthcare organizations has an HCO as the main head of operations for compliance and a team, division, or committee that works with the HCO to follow through on compliancy requirements. Smaller organizations may have only an HCO whose duties are more involved. A healthcare compliance officer must know and be aware of all current state and federal regulations laws, and guidelines for compliancy and maintain updated information on any new changes. The HCO works in conjunction with executives within the organization for communication and understands the legal aspects of compliancy. The HCO has the authority and resources to create procedures and practices that protect the organization, patients, and the employees.
Laws governing compliance in the healthcare industry encompass a number of areas within an organization. The HCO must have a deep level of understanding of each of these levels and how they affect compliance laws. In addition, the HCO must also know the complete operations of the healthcare organization, including the duties and jobs of the staff. Understanding each level allows the HCO to implement policies, procedures, and changes as well as monitor and detect potential non-compliance conditions. Selecting the right HCO means that the individual should have excellent skills in leadership and communication. A healthcare operations officer should be intimately familiar with:
The healthcare compliance officer is responsible for a complete corporate compliance program along with administration and implementation of the program. Each healthcare organization may differ in the number of individuals involved in working with the HCO to accommodate the compliance program. The HCO position can include all or just some of the following responsibilities, depending upon the size of the organization:
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