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RISK MANAGEMENT

Practices recognize that health care compliance management must be addressed, despite challenges

A nationwide survey finds health care organizations and businesses, including medical practices, confront time and staffing challenges when it comes to health care compliance management. Expertise is also an issue, as is keeping up with changes. Nevertheless, medical practices and other health care providers recognize the importance of health care compliance management.

The survey, conducted by Marketing Matters on behalf of First Healthcare Compliance, a provider of compliance program and management solutions and services to meet the rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act, looked at various aspects of compliance management, including time currently spent on compliance, staff and other resources, and keeping abreast of new or changing regulations.

Time spent on compliance

Participants were asked to indicate the average amount of time they spent weekly on managing the multiple aspects of compliance including OSHA, HIPAA, fraud, waste and abuse, billing and coding, policies and procedures, employee training, and other areas that respondents specified, including finance, statistics, payroll/taxes, ICD-10, meaningful use, investigations, and overall risk management.

The survey finds that a majority of respondents spend the fewest hours weekly (one hour or less) on compliance in the areas of OSHA, fraud, and waste and abuse.

Billing and coding, followed by policies and procedures, are absorbing the most time. HIPAA and employee training take up a lot of time as well.

Staff and other resources

The survey, which also looked at staffing resources, finds that more than half of respondents manage compliance through one full-time employee.

Approximately 25 percent of respondents utilize between two and four full-time employees to manage compliance, and the remaining organizations, 21 percent, use five or more full-time employees to manage compliance, with the majority using eight or more full-time employees.

Most respondents (65 percent) do not use part-time employees at all to manage compliance, while 13 percent use one part-time employee, and 14 percent utilize between two and four part-time employees.

Meanwhile, engaging outside sources is an active practice that many respondents utilize to manage compliance. A full 61 percent of respondents use outside sources to help manage OSHA, HIPAA, billing and coding, and employee training.

Keeping up

Keeping abreast of new or changing compliance regulations and finding time to manage compliance were cited as the top two compliance challenges. Lack of staff is also a top concern.

Almost equally divided is how respondents plan to make headway in order to address compliance challenges. Thirty-five (35) percent report being compliant yet are still seeking greater efficiency. Another 30 percent view solving their compliance challenges as a top priority and, as such, want to have a solution in place within a three-month timeframe.

Conclusion

The percentage of respondents relying on outside sources for help with compliance clearly points to the lack of time, internal resources, and expertise they have to solely address the responsibilities associated with managing compliance.

The many areas of compliance management are requiring a more efficient, cost-effective and practical approach to mitigate risk and maintain compliance in today’s ever-changing landscape.


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“Meaningful use” can safeguard big money for your practice


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