The compliance program must be tailored to fit your organization. There is not a “one size fits all” program. As we have discussed, you need commitment from the top that supports your program, financial support including necessary staffing, and a continual assessment of your program. Once you understand the organization’s needs, then fit your plan to the organization. The code of conduct should be the focal point of your program.
Communication of your program’s expectations and goals is a key to its success. The communication must be clear, concise, and creative. Much of compliance-related information can be difficult to understand because so much of it is buried in thousands of pages of government regulations. The written standards of conduct and policies and procedures should be clear and easy to understand and distributed to all staff. What good is the compliance plan if no one in the organization knows it exists? Compliance may not be an exciting topic for everyone, so be creative and use many methods to communicate. Be creative and keep your program fresh and exciting.
The 3 Cs of Communication
There are many ways to communicate the compliance message. Communicating can include walking rounds with the providers, one-on-one training, skits at staff meetings, or role-play exercises during education sessions. Look for ways your organization celebrates successes and tap into them. If your organization has a holiday party, consider contributing in some visible and fun way, a skit or karaoke song for example, if that fits your organization’s culture. Items with a compliance theme or message can be popular, assuming the budget allows. Magnets or pens can be inexpensive enough to allow distribution to all employees. Posters, brochures, and wallet cards can also be effective. Consider a compliance open house or a “road show” to other departments. Your reporting system is also a communication tool. Make sure all employees know about the hotline or other systems you have in place. And as much as is possible, get back to them with results—results of investigating hotline questions, results of compliance successes, results of audits. The most important communication device is an open-door policy in the compliance department. Help managers to be open to employee questions. Encourage all staff to stop by the compliance office with questions or concerns. The accessibility of the Compliance Officer will communicate much more than the specifics of regulations and laws; it will communicate a sense of mutual trust and common goals.