Q&A: Meharry Medical College on Vendor Compliance

Ronette Adams-Taylor has been the Associate General Counsel and Director of Compliance and Risk Management for Meharry Medical College for the last 10 years.

Q: Can you tell us about Meharry Medical College?

Meharry Medical College is here in Nashville, Tennessee. We are the first medical college for African Americans in the South. We were founded in 1876, and now we are now considered an academic health science center because we have a dental program, a graduate school program, and we graduate the largest amount of African American PhD students in the world.

Q: In the healthcare industry, why is compliance monitoring important?

Healthcare is a constant revolving door, and the regulatory laws around healthcare change daily. You have to make sure that you’re up to speed on those new regulations. It’s something that keeps our team up at night! We want to ensure that we are following the proper federal state governance laws that they have put in place, and what our payer providers have place put in place as well.

Our goal is to be stewards to our patients. In order to do that, we have to ensure that we are prudent from an ethical standpoint. That means that we have to stay abreast of those laws. Our patients expect that from us. Our providers expect that from us.

Q: Why is vendor monitoring important to Meharry Medical College? What is the risk of working with non-compliant vendors?

We have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the money that the government is giving us—and that’s supposed to go to our patients—is used appropriately. Again, it’s about stewardship. We need to ensure that we are doing what we have to do to be prudent on our end, because we have that fiduciary duty to manage compliance monitoring. If we aren’t monitoring those providers that we’ve put our trust in, then we aren’t being good fiduciary stewards.

Q: How is Meharry utilizing ProviderTrust’s products/services?

We were very excited to partner with ProviderTrust. To have the team come in and explain to us the services that they can provide with VendorProof—that reduced our risk, our stress.

We use VendorProof as a way to monitor the vendors that we have at Meharry. I think from the last count, we had over 1,000+ vendors. You have to understand that Meharry is a small academic health science center; we aren’t the big conglomerates. But for us, those are a lot of vendors!

Q: Before VendorProof, how was Meharry monitoring its vendor population?

We are a small team. We have two attorneys in our office, one compliance manager, one risk manager, and one contracts administrator. And then you add our finance team—they’re small as well. So it was a manual process where these two offices had to communicate with each other. When you have 900+ students and 900+ employees who are considered vendors, on top of the 1000+ vendors that we have do our everyday work, managing that in a manual process is tedious.

Q: What need is VendorProof solving for your organization?

Having VendorProof there to automate that system has been great for us. It has taken the burden off of my team. I know it has definitely taken the burden off the finance team! I’ve spoken with the CFO, and when informing her that we are going to partner with ProviderTrust, she was excited because her team is small, so they have a role and responsibility. Automation has been great. Working with the [ProviderTrust] team has been phenomenal.

Q: What has your experience been like working with ProviderTrust?

My experience working with ProviderTrust has been seamless, and I think that’s the word to utilize: seamless. The team has been very cognizant of our role and what’s important to Meharry. They have also been cognizant of the fact that we have a small team!

The implementation process for VendorProof was very easy to establish within our system. Again, we were dealing with a system that was manual, but the implementation process was easy to combine or add into what we were doing already. ProviderTrust and our OIT team met on a weekly basis—and sometimes daily, if needed—to ensure onboarding was smooth.

Q: What made ProviderTrust stand out over other options?

We have had several discussions about what we needed to do as it relates to ensuring that we are monitoring our vendors. When we were approached by ProviderTrust with this opportunity, it was a no-brainer. VendorProof makes our life seamless when it comes to monitoring our vendors on the exclusion list. It helps me sleep at night that I don’t have to worry about coming in and we’re on the HHS’s top list!

At Meharry, we say that we are family, and adding ProviderTrust has extended that family. I cannot express enough how much we have been appreciative of the services of VendorProof—appreciative of the leadership and of the organization.

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