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Elements of an Effective Compliance Hotline

A compliance hotline used correctly can be a powerful tool for any organization; from being able to offer suggestions to reporting concerns. For healthcare organizations, the recommendation to provide hotlines and other forms of communication was issued by the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) guidance on the seven elements for a comprehensive compliance program.

In their guidance, the OIG encourages the use of hotlines, emails, written memoranda, newsletters, suggestion boxes, and other forms of information exchange to maintain "open lines of communication." When deciding to establish a hotline, an organization should ensure the telephone number or other means of reporting concerns, suggestions, etc., is readily available to all employees and independent contractors. For example, posting the number in common work areas, and included in employee training and in the employee handbook.

Elements of an Effective Compliance Hotline

1. Permits employees to report matters on an anonymous basis.

2. Any issues that were reported that suggest violations of policies, Federal or State Laws, etc., should be investigated and documented promptly to determine veracity.

3. A log should be maintained by the compliance officer that records such calls, including the nature of any investigation and its results.

4. The information from the compliance hotline should be included in reports to the governing body, the CEO, and the compliance committee.

5. Organizations should strive to maintain the confidentiality of an employee's identity; however, it is important to explicitly communicate that there may be a point where the individual's identity may become known or may have to be revealed in certain instances.

We Can Help!

Healthcare Compliance Pros Compliance Hotline is a tool that can help your organization fulfill OIG's recommendation for providing a hotline and another form of communication. In addition to permitting employees to call an actual hotline to report concerns or suggestions anonymously, employees can access the tool by accessing and logging into the website. From there, they can report their concerns, suggestions, etc., anonymously. The Compliance Officer or other designated individual receives notification of the report and can immediately review. This is a powerful tool for organizations, encouraging employees to speak up when they hear or see something that requires attention or mitigation, or when they have ideas for improvement. Sometimes, the best suggestions come from your employees who are on the front lines!

Contact us for more information and to add the Compliance Hotline to your compliance program. Reach us by phone: 855-427-0427 or by email: support@hcp.md

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