How many hats does your compliance officer wear? Here are some of the additional roles compliance officers have mentioned to me:
- HR Director
- Nursing Home Admissions Director
- Training Manager
- Clinical Director or QAPI Director
- Assistant Administrator or VP
- Privacy Officer and/or Security Officer
- Director of Nursing
- Marketing/PR Director
Sometimes people just laugh when I ask if they have roles in addition to Compliance Officer – because they have so many.
Give them a break
Use your Compliance Committee for support. An engaged Compliance Committee that meets regularly and chips in can offer enormous support to your Compliance Officer. Your Compliance Committee can be a sounding board that brings diverse perspectives and knowledge areas to the compliance effort. There are also opportunities for Compliance Committees to share some of the workload – if your Compliance Officer is overworked and the Committee members can contribute a little time. Can the Committee review audits in a Committee meeting? Brainstorm training content together (what if each Committee member writes two hypotheticals for your upcoming annual training session?) Could each Committee member conduct one audit each year? That’s not a lot of work to add to each member’s plate – but it frees up your Compliance Officer to achieve significantly more.
Share the love
If your Compliance Committee members aren’t the right source of extra manpower, are there tasks other employees can fit onto their plates (without these employees becoming overburdened)? Perhaps an audit, or management of one risk area? Sometimes the right solution is shifting a few tasks around – rather than abandoning those tasks or completely re-structuring your job titles.
Attending a conference with fellow colleagues can be both reassuring and motivating. The opportunity to hear from other professionals, many of whom also wear multiple hats, can refresh one’s perspective and recharge those batteries. I recommend the Health Care Compliance Association’s Compliance Institute (coming to Nashville in 2020).
Outsource (if it fits your budget)
If your Compliance Officer (or department) is struggling with multiple roles or the weight of the compliance workload, consider enlisting help with one or more select tasks. A consultant might be able to provide your compliance program effectiveness review, training, or policies and procedures far more cost-effectively than an in-house effort.