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Meet Donnetta Horseman: 'You cannot be afraid to speak truth to power'

Donnetta Horseman (donnetta.horseman@moffitt.org) was interviewed in April by Compliance Today Editorial Advisory Board member Margaret Hambleton (margaret@hambletoncompliance.com), President, Hambleton Compliance LLC, Valencia, CA.

MH: I love to hear about compliance professionals’ origin stories. How did you get your start in compliance? How did it lead you to your current position as chief compliance officer?

DH: My entire career has been in healthcare. I was a manager in the telecommunications department at MedStar Health, and while training leaders on how to use their new Blackberry devices, I met the chief compliance officer. We established a connection. She was looking for someone with an IT background to build a professional fee-billing data warehouse to identify aberrant coding trends to get ahead of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services audits. She created a “manager, compliance informatics” position, and I applied. I had been in IT/telecom for a long time and felt there was no room for growth in my current department. It was time for a change. I jumped in with both feet and learned everything I could from her. She was an excellent mentor. A year later, she was recruited away to another organization, and she recommended me for the position of compliance officer. I have been leading compliance and privacy programs ever since.

MH: Tell us a bit about the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. I know it is a large, innovative, diverse, and award-winning enterprise. How is your department structured, and how do you collaborate with others in the organization?

DH: Moffitt was created in 1986 by its founder and former Speaker of the House H. Lee Moffitt. He lobbied for its creation using cigarette tax funding, and Moffitt is now the only National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center in the state of Florida. I joined Moffitt in 2014, and at that time there were three people in the department. Most activity was outsourced. I conducted a program assessment and recommended a phased approach to building out the department to adequately support a complex cancer center and research institute. Over the years, the compliance department has grown along with Moffitt, with 38 full-time employees currently. As the chief compliance officer, I have a compliance director, billing integrity officer, and international compliance officer that report directly to me. The privacy officer, research compliance officer, and conflicts of interest officer report to the compliance director. Each officer has a team of program managers, auditors, coordinators, and analysts reporting to them. We also have a compliance coordinator and several compliance support specialists who handle the foundational components of the program such as the hotline, policies, education and training, awareness, and general program support. The organization is very complex and diverse, so collaboration can be quite challenging. I have regular meetings with our chief audit officer, chief risk officer, and chief information security officer, and many of the leaders from key areas sit on our Corporate Compliance Steering Committee, which meets six times per year. I also sit on many operational councils across the organization. This ensures a two-way flow of information between operations and compliance. Building solid relationships is key to the success of any compliance officer. In addition to regular meetings, thanks to COVID-19, we now use Zoom to have a quick instant message or video chat whenever an issue arises that we need to discuss. By having regular touch points between compliance and leadership, we ensure that we catch up on a routine basis.

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