3 Takeaways from the HCCA 2018 Compliance Institute

Marketing Director

Last week, the 22nd Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) Compliance Institute was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 3,000 healthcare compliance professionals gathered at the single most comprehensive healthcare compliance conference. Besides learning about the latest developments and priorities from regulators, the Compliance Institute offers networking opportunities and educational tracks to help attendees strengthen their organization’s compliance program.

The following represent my top takeaways from HCCA’s 2018 Compliance Institute.

1. The OIG’s Lesson on Achieving Better Outcomes

This year, Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) discussed how healthcare compliance professionals can help their organizations achieve better performance outcomes. “Compliance programs, the tone at the top, and the culture that is developed are all inputs,” Levinson stated during his opening keynote. “These are all very important factors in developing an effective healthcare infrastructure. Ultimately, we are looking to lower risk.”

As the OIG mentioned, compliance professionals should understand the difference between inputs and outcomes. Better patient outcomes are achievable, but only if the appropriate inputs are working effectively. However, the implementation of these inputs should have some strategy behind in order to mitigate risk.

“Luck is the flip side of risk,” Inspector Levinson cautioned. “You cannot understand one without appreciating the other.” Data-driven decision-making can not only help prevent healthcare fraud, but data can be a powerful tool for strengthening an organization’s compliance program.

2. Scott Eblin’s Next Level Leadership Advice for Managing Change

Scott Eblin, author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success, shared his leadership insights during a keynote presentation. In order to succeed in the rapidly changing healthcare environment, compliance professionals need to be flexible in their approach.

“When you are trying to do new things and get new results, you may have to pick up some new skills, behaviors, and mindsets,” Eblin explained during his keynote. “On the other hand, things change over time. You have to let go of some things and mindsets about what your role is or where you add value.”

More often than not, it’s the letting go part that professionals find the most challenging. While learning something new is a cognitive challenge, letting go is more of an emotional challenge. “Fear is the underlying emotion that makes letting go so difficult,” Eblin explained.

“One of the ways you can mitigate fear is to learn more and visualize yourself in the future,” Eblin suggests. He recommends asking questions such as: ‘What changes can I make and how can I prepare myself for those changes so that the fear factor is not so much of an issue?’

3. Taking Marketing Compliance Seriously

With the upcoming enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, data security and marketing compliance should form part of compliance program initiatives for this year. While marketing may not be the main department compliance professionals collaborate with, consider meeting regularly with your organization’s marketing leader to ensure they understand the industry’s rules that may apply to their initiatives.

“Don’t assume that your marketing director knows the rules and don’t assume that they know that there are rules,” Brenda K. Manning, Privacy and Regulatory Affairs Director at University of Minnesota Physicians explained during a breakout session. “Remind them about what they can and cannot do and encourage them to reach out to you.”

In addition to GDPR, which represents the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years, there are various other regulatory considerations that impact an organization’s marketing compliance. Other examples include general guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and the CAN-SPAM Act.

I hope you found some compliance insights to apply at your organization from these takeaways. If your healthcare organization is evaluating your exclusion screening program, contact us to learn how we can help streamline your process.

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