Healthcare Regulatory Compliance: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Regulatory compliance is a tangled web for healthcare providers, due to its complexity and ever-changing nature. Non-compliance can not only result in penalties, fines, and even criminal charges, not to mention increased risk of litigation. Below are some of the most common mistakes for healthcare providers to avoid:

Failure to implement a comprehensive compliance program.

It is imperative for healthcare providers to produce a comprehensive compliance program with documented policies and procedures that identify applicable healthcare regulations and how to comply with them. Policies should cover HIPAA, the Stark Law, and the False Claims Act as well as any other applicable local regulations.

Compliance programs should be regularly audited and updated, with regular risk assessments to expose and address any shortfalls. Providers should also include a process for investigation and correction of any violations that occur.

Lack of employee training on healthcare regulations.

All employees, even those who don’t regularly deal with patients, should be trained on healthcare regulations immediately upon hire, with supplemental training for refreshers and updates to policies (typically annually). All employees should be trained on HIPAA, Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statutes, and the False Claims Act, as well as local regulations.

Poor patient care documentation.

Thorough documentation of all patient care not only maintains compliance with regulations, but also provides a tighter defense against potential litigation. Electronic health records offer the most efficient and accurate solution, and are the most secure.

Improper disclosure of patient health information.

Patient health information is confidential and requires the patient’s consent before disclosure to anyone. All healthcare providers should have the necessary policies and procedures in place to protect patient data, and ensure all employees understand the importance of keeping patient information confidential.

Untimely or non-reporting of adverse events.

Despite policies, procedures and thorough employee training, things can go wrong. Failure to report adverse events to the appropriate healthcare regulatory authority can weaken a provider’s defense if litigation occurs, as well as incur potential fines or even suspension or revocation of licensing.

The good news is that all of the above is avoidable, especially with an expert legal team to help ensure providers are in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, and to provide comprehensive counsel when needed. Messner Reeves LLP’s healthcare attorneys are well-tuned to the industry’s changing nuances, providing collaborative healthcare counsel for matters large and small. Learn more about our healthcare team.

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