Take a deep breath. I know it feels like the year is already flying by, but in all reality, it has just begun. Your mind is racing 100 mph thinking about all the things you should have done, need to do, want to do, wish you could do but haven’t done. Sometimes, our minds race so fast we just feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. You may need someone to help you think about how or where to start that to do list.
Compliance professionals, particularly in the healthcare setting, are stretched and stressed from all different directions. We want to help. But first things first, slow down and take a deep breath. Now, remind yourself that you are in the position for a reason, you earned this opportunity and are perfectly capable of pulling it all together and having a great 2018! So in an effort to help you get started, here are a few quick tips on where to begin your 2018 compliance planning in this busy season. Take a look!
5 Ways to Get Organized as a Compliance Professional
1. Establish What’s Working
Take a look around and look at all the things that “worked” in 2017. Have you taken a moment to reflect on the priorities from 2017 and noted those areas that improved over the course of the last year? I am sure you had many successes so make sure you take a minute and capture all of the successes and most importantly make sure you know why they improved. Build on the successes of 2017.
2. Identify Improvements
Now take a look at those areas from 2017 that were not as successful as you had hoped. Do you need to modify the type or frequency of oversight? Do you need to conduct additional training? Do you know the root cause of why something didn’t improve? If you don’t know the root cause, this is probably where you need to start.
3. Your Compliance Plan is Your Superhero
Taking a look at your current compliance plan is always a great thing to focus on early in the new year. If you haven’t reviewed the compliance plan recently (standard of practice is to review at least annually) then this is another great place to focus some of your energies this month. Your compliance plan is full of great information on the risk areas of the organization and mitigation efforts.
Review it and make sure that the Compliance Plan is consistent with the current areas of focus for your organization. Do you need to update the plan to accurately depict the compliance activities or the changing regulatory environment?
4. One Piece at a Time
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”. “You can’t take too many big bites or you’ll choke”. “Don’t drink water from a fire hose”. You get the idea, right? Break up each project into small pieces to work on and go from there. Now that you have reviewed the Compliance Plan and reviewed 2017 outcomes, this might have identified some additional areas that need auditing or monitoring. Or perhaps you have identified some auditing and monitoring that is no longer needed. This is a great time to review your audit plan and update it accordingly.
5. Listen, Listen, Listen
Last but certainly not least, what are you hearing from people throughout your organization? What new priorities have been identified by the Board or senior leadership? What areas of concern have you garnered from your compliance hotline or through other methods? Has your Compliance Committee identified additional areas they want to monitor this year? All of these things should be taken into consideration as you set your oversight priorities for 2018.
BONUS: Schedule a few days off here and there to give yourself a routine break. And don’t forget to schedule that long vacation that allows you to really separate and come back refreshed and ready to tackle another day.
The role of a compliance officer is never easy. You come to work each day with a plan and then something pops up that completely changes the priority and puts you “behind” schedule. But always remember that your role in the organization is integral to the continuous risk reduction and a healthy compliance culture!
Remember, the ProviderTrust team has your back. Lean on us anytime – we are here to help! And if you decide to take one of those days off and visit Nashville, stop by and say hello, we’d love to meet you!
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Written by Donna Thiel, Chief Compliance Officer
Donna Thiel is the Director of our Compliance Integrity team, a consulting division of ProviderTrust. Donna works with compliance officers across the country to help reduce the stress and anxiety of this very difficult role.