Pivotal, crucial decisions are made every day by HR. Human Resources Professionals shoulder big responsibility, especially if they work in the healthcare industry. In addition to the normal burdens of recruiting, hiring, and maintaining a competent, productive workforce, Healthcare HR must deal with a plethora of laws and regulations. Failing to understand them properly can cost the organization big.
April 25, 2019: Morganstern Urology in Georgia entered into a settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that Morganstern employed a physician who was excluded from participating in any Federal health care program. SETTLEMENT: $18,810.40
Healthcare employees deal with unique challenges. They’re frequently responsible for a patient's life or death. In other industries, an employee's mistake may result in a customer not receiving the wrong product, or accidentally being charged twice. In contrast, healthcare employees can cause permanent physical harm to patients through ineptitude, carelessness, or willfulness.
April 12, 2019: Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Lufkin State Supported Living Center entered into a settlement agreement with OIG. resolving allegations that they employed an individual, a registered nurse, who was excluded from participating in any Federal health care program. SETTLEMENT: $121,068.42
Your doctor or dentist office, hospital, rehab facility, or retirement center may have a long-standing screening program that seems to serve you well. However, it pays to re-visit it periodically to make certain it’s thorough, fair, and protects your organization as much as possible.
#1: Understand that non-compliance can be very costly. Healthcare HR professionals need to always keep compliance in the forefront of their minds and weave it into every aspect of the policy. Two main pieces of this are fines levied by the OIG for non-compliance, and lawsuits brought by patients or their families. These are reasons why every person should be monitored, and each process should be well-documented and provable if it’s every required.
March 21, 2019: Berea Alzheimer's Care Center in Ohio entered into a settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that BACC employed an individual who was excluded from participating in any Federal health care program. OIG's investigation revealed that the excluded individual, a medical records coordinator, provided items or services to BACC's patients that were billed to Federal health care programs. SETTLEMENT: $75,998.54
#2: You should monitor every employee. Just checking the licenses and eligibility of doctors and nurses leaves you vulnerable to risk. Put steps in place that regularly check every employee for the required qualifications to work in the healthcare industry. HR needs to set an ongoing monitoring process in place, in writing, detailing what will be required of each applicant and employee, along with when and how. This policy needs to be easy to understand both by the hiring and department managers as well as the employees and followed consistently.
March 8, 2019: Cleveland Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation in Cleveland, Oklahoma, entered into a settlement agreement with OIG. The settlement agreement resolves allegations that Cleveland Manor employed an individual who was excluded from participating in any Federal health care program. OIG's investigation revealed that the excluded individual, an office manager, provided items or services to Cleveland Manor's patients that were billed to Federal health care programs. SETTLEMENT: $171,047
- Work with a screening and monitoring vendor partner experienced in healthcare. The stakes are too high to pick your background screening provider by price alone. Healthcare organizations must protect themselves from the threat of fines and litigation by choosing the vendor that can get them the most in-depth, up-to-date, complete information possible. HR should speak with several vendors and ask them to explain each of the products they offer that can help create a completely compliant, risk-fighting employee monitoring solution. Request references from other healthcare clients and make certain there is proper customer training and support available to you. A reputable background screening provider will be instrumental in the success of the long-range plan.
HR professionals who work in the healthcare industry can’t be too careful with monitoring the qualifications and work eligibility of their employees. With the risks of lawsuits and fines, it should be a top priority to keep you finger on the pulse of what is going on in your workplace. Create a complete plan of screening and monitoring existing employees, and step-by-step plans of how to address issues quickly. By proactively resolving issues, you protect the reputation of your company and create a workforce that’s in compliance with industry regulations.