This interview with Matthew Tuchow was conducted in June by Adam Turteltaub (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & International Programs, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics & Health Care Compliance Association
Matthew Tuchow, Chief Compliance and Business Integrity Officer, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Washington, DC
AT: Like pretty much everyone else in compliance, you didn’t get there in a straight line. Your career spanned time at law firms in Japan and the US, as well as a year working for a congressman. How did you end up doing compliance work?
MT: I love being proactive, getting ahead of the curve, teaching people to do the right thing rather than cleaning up messes at the back end. I also believe that by promoting ethics, integrity, and compliance, we are promoting corporate and institutional responsibility, which benefits society at large.
AT: It would probably be good if you gave people a better understanding of McKesson and some of the risks that you had to manage there. It’s a huge global company that is really deeply involved in healthcare.
MT: Yes. McKesson is one of the largest companies in the United States, and if not the largest, one of the largest US healthcare companies by revenue. The company is a large distributor of pharmaceuticals and medical-surgical supplies, and it provides healthcare technology, physician practice management, and specialty services. There were many risks! Key risks that I was focused on mitigating at McKesson included healthcare fraud, government contracting, corruption risks, data privacy, and regulatory risks.
AT: What led you to pursue the opportunity at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)?
MT: I wanted to give back and had always been interested in public service and government, and I thought I might be able to bring some lessons about building successful compliance and ethics programs that I had learned in the private sector to the public sector, and hopefully add value.
AT: The VHA, which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is an enormous institution. Can you give us a sense of the size and scope of its operations?
MT: VHA is the largest healthcare organization in North America, serving over 9 million Americans with over 1,000 points of care and over 320,000 employees. In fact, the VA is the second largest agency in federal government after the combined Department of Defense.