Since 2015, state legislators have passed more than 2,000 laws related to the regulation of healthcare. Cookie-cutter and infrequently updated regulation policies could cost health systems thousands of hours in manpower, but by implementing a continuous compliance program, systems can recapture those lost hours and improve efficiency.
The implementation of a continuous compliance program was the subject of a July 29 webinar hosted by Becker's ASC Review and sponsored by Medline. The speaker was Jason Connolly, president of HOTB Software Solutions.
Here are three key takeaways from the webinar:
1. An environment of constant change. Ignoring compliance can be costly. The current legislative, legal and regulatory environments are all incredibly active. State legislative activity on healthcare in 2020 is on track to exceed healthcare lawmaking that has occurred over the last five years, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
Legal activity has remained flat, but the financial awards associated with malpractice cases have increased drastically, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank. Practitioners and facilities alike face a real threat from the increased amount of award money affiliated with these cases.
Regulatory agencies, like the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and others, are always looking for ways to update their standards. In 2020 alone, AAAHC rolled out a new standards guide that had 83 total revisions for facilities to follow. Falling behind in any of these three areas can result in financial difficulties for practices, but a compliance continuity program can ensure practices stay ahead of current changes and trends.
2. Understand compliance continuity. Ensuring a facility is compliant and successful starts at the top. Compliance programs must be customized for facilities and backed up by real-time data reporting systems that are made widely available throughout facilities and reviewed frequently. On top of that, facilities must ensure all staff members across the organization are up-to-date on current practices. These standards must be met consistently.
"When we talk about compliance continuity, it's really that constant monitoring of standards, policy, training, reporting, accountability and then the validation process to ensure that everything is wrapped up appropriately together," Mr. Connolly said.
3. Compliance continuity in action. Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Nazarian Plastic Surgery founder Sheila Nazarian, MD, went to HOTB Software Solutions to seek out a way to improve the efficiency of her practice. Before partnering with Mr. Connolly, her team would spend around six to nine months preparing for a survey, would have to undergo a multiday survey process and occasionally had deficiencies the team would have to spend another six to eight weeks correcting. After focusing on compliance continuity, the plastic surgery clinic saw its survey prep time fall to three months and decreased how long the compliance surveyor was on site to one day.
By taking a proactive role in compliance continuity, Dr. Nazarian was able to save six months of man power. Mr. Connolly said. … "There are solutions out there. All is not lost. There are tools and a lot of hard working people out there that are doing a great job. [Compliance solutions] are empowering them and allowing them to do what they need to do."