The benefits of hospital outsourcing corporate compliance are important and worthy of serious consideration. The Fox Group has many years of experience providing compliance and HIPAA-related services to our clients. Many of our clients have chosen to outsource their corporate compliance programs to us and we would like to share with you six key reasons why they have chosen to do so. Understanding these benefits will be instrumental in your evaluation of in-house versus outsourcing your compliance program.
In healthcare, being out of compliance, not having an effective (!) compliance program, or not assuring HIPAA is “practiced” can lead to serious consequences. You can end up with lawsuits, loss of licenses, ruined reputations, and large fines. Maintaining a sustainable, active and effective corporate compliance program is a must!
In-house or Outsourcing?
6 Benefits of Hospital Outsourcing Corporate Compliance
1. Team approach – support the on-site compliance officer.
When you rely on a team of experts, rather than one employee, you get in-depth support. Your team will be led by a consultant who has additional resources at their fingertips to bring extra help in when needed.
Even when your staff is adept and talented, it’s difficult for them to have every skill needed to run a healthcare facility. However, when you have a team of people working for you, you get the benefit of all their years of experience.
Oftentimes, a staff member who has full-time job duties is appointed a compliance officer. The resulting work activities from both positions can create a difficult burden on the staff member. And in those cases where there is a fully dedicated compliance officer, there are times where they need support and direction. Consequently, having a team of qualified and experienced individuals to either support the compliance officer or function as a compliance officer represents a decided advantage.
Either way, it saves and you and your staff from having to deal with an area you are not familiar with. You can leave it to your team of consultants to keep you on the right track.
2. Reliable budgeting
You might think hiring a consulting firm for corporate compliance would be more costly than having your employees handle it. But in reality, it can help keep you within your budget. When you hire a firm, you should get services at a fixed monthly rate, regardless of the hours required to “work an issue”.
With this approach, your costs are predictable, and you won’t be taken by surprise during a time when you have more work. Plus, when issues arise, your monthly contract will stay the same. You won’t have to worry about running up the meter during challenging situations.
A consultant will understand your budget limits and will strive to work within your financial restrictions. Experienced consultants know the cost of various programs and what’s the best fit for your organization.
As we said above, when you hire a consulting firm, you are getting a team of healthcare experts. It’s a comprehensive service that, surprisingly, can cost less than hiring one employee. It’s another one of the benefits of hospital outsourcing corporate compliance.
The cost of an employee goes beyond their salary. It can quickly add up when you think of other expenses like benefits, insurance, 401(k)/profit sharing, employee bonuses, payroll taxes (company-paid portion), and training.
Then there are the many indirect or less obvious ways that hiring an employee can cost you. Employers don’t always think of the following expenses: office space and equipment, furniture, computer software licenses, computer hardware, subscriptions and dues, trade shows and travel expenses, and overhead staff. Also, there are the costs associated with turnover in the position.
And keep in mind, that’s just one person – one person that may not have the necessary experience in every area of healthcare compliance where you need it.
4. Professionals who are up to date in industry compliance
There are many ways you can stay up to date on the ever-changing federal rules and regulations in healthcare. However, doing so will involve time and effort on your part, or on the part of the employee in charge of your compliance program. One of the benefits of hospital outsourcing corporate compliance is a team of professionals that are current with the industry.
To stay updated, you need to regularly check government websites for revisions, attend seminars, join industry associations, and subscribe to newsletters to be on top of things. When major changes are made, you may need training in the new standards too.
When you hire a consulting team, you have professionals who are focused on staying up to date with the compliance environment. They have the resources to know when the regulations have changed and the ability to prepare your organization for it, freeing up your time and energy to focus on other business-critical tasks.
5. Objective advocacy
One of the greatest benefits of a third-party consultant is objectivity. A consultant focuses on complying with rules, laws, and regulations, even if it might cause challenges to your organization.
It can be hard for employees to take a step back and see the big picture when they are in the day-to-day operations of your facility. They simply may be too close to the operation, but employees can sometimes have trouble recognizing issues that are right in front of them. It can take a fresh perspective from an objective source to spot and resolve problems. A consultant can give you their unbiased opinion, and they may be able to bring you valuable insight.
6. Niche experience – regulation AND operation
You need people with degrees and knowledge, but you can’t overlook operational experience. An expert consulting firm will bring you all of their many combined years of healthcare operations. They understand the clinical and administrative environments. Plus, they know what they need to do to help you run efficiently while delivering value to your patients.
The consultants you hire should have real-world experience, combined with degrees, certifications, and regulatory knowledge of the industry. This will bring you many benefits when your hospital is outsourcing corporate compliance.
Even more, you will benefit from the experience the consultants have developed from dealing with similar issues at other organizations. Though every hospital is different, it’s likely the consultant will have had a similar experience on past projects that will add value to your facility and bring with them the benefit of best practices.
What is corporate compliance – a reminder
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) offers guidance on how to follow a good program. The OIG has a large amount of information on their website, from toolkits to advisory opinions to podcasts.
Though anyone can access this information, applying it to real-world settings becomes a challenge. Additionally, state and federal regulations can change at any time, and laws and guidelines can sometimes overlap. Thus, it’s important that whoever is responsible for your corporate compliance program must stay up to date on the latest rules.
Remember the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) “Seven Elements of an Effective Compliance Program:”
- Written standards of conduct;
- Designating a compliance officer and other appropriate bodies;
- Conducting effective education and training;
- Audits and evaluation techniques to monitor compliance;
- Reporting processes and procedures for complaints;
- Appropriate disciplinary mechanisms; and
- Investigation and remediation of systemic problems.
Hospitals need to follow many federal guidelines in addition to local and state laws. One solution to dealing with the complexity of regulations is to consider outsourcing your compliance program. When you outsource, you have the advantage of a team of subject matter experts and all of the knowledge and experience that comes with them.
Taking the next step
Outsourcing your corporate compliance program can yield substantial benefits to your organization, including lifting some significant burdens and challenges to your staff. If you’re considering what your next steps might be, think about what to expect when looking for a healthcare consulting firm? You’ll want to find one that has both knowledge, experience, and hands-on operational experience in healthcare.