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Rethink your policy management system to strengthen your compliance program

J. Veronica Xu (veronica.xu@saberhealth.com) is the Chief Compliance Officer for Saber Healthcare Group headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

“Mom, help! Where can I find the weekly schedule online?” “Mom, the portal doesn’t work.” “Mom, what’s the difference between a ‘private source’ and a ‘secondary source?’”

These are the questions I have been recently asked by my 10-year-old who is acclimating to doing schoolwork online, and I am sure this resonates with many parents facing similar pleas for help on a daily basis. As the nation is combating COVID-19, numerous schools have adjusted their teaching mode and moved everything online. As a result, parents or guardians have inevitably become teachers’ assistants and technical support for their young children grappling with virtual learning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many things have changed in our lives, welcomed or not. Compliance’s work is no exception. My son’s questions prompted me to ponder: Do our employees know where to find policies and obtain information? Can our employees easily access our policy system when working remotely? Do they understand the content of the policies? Is our policy system ready for all the changes and challenges that the pandemic has brought forth?

Policies are an essential part of a compliance program. They are—by their inherent nature—meant to help guide employees in dealing with issues encountered in business operations to enhance safety, ensure quality, and reduce the number of incidents and violations of laws and regulations. In my opinion, as an integral component of a compliance program, policies are a triangular framework that consists of three basic elements: (1) a policy management and review process, (2) a policy library and database system, and (3) policy training and education (Figure 1). All three elements are closely correlated and ultimately affect the overall success of your policy implementation and level of compliance.

Figure 1: The three elements of a compliance policy system

This article is intended to share some practical tips to help you and your team improve, communicate, and use your policy system as part of your effort to strengthen your compliance program.

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