[lightbox link=”https://columbusohmedicalbilling.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/mtg.jpg” thumb=”https://columbusohmedicalbilling.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/mtg-300×218.jpg” width=”300″ align=”left” title=”mtg” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]Every healthcare office should educate its employees, leadership, and agents about the importance of compliance. The OIG outlines three steps for educational objectives:

  1. Determine who needs training, by job description and duties. Various aspects of compliance may apply more readily to some aspects of your organization, than to others. For example, the training appropriate for a coder or back-office biller may differ from that appropriate for clinicians, which will differ from that appropriate for human resources, and so on.
  2. Determine the type of training that best suits the organization’s needs (e.g., seminars, in-service training, self-study, or other programs)
  3. Determine when and how often education is needed, and how much each person should receive

Compliance training is recommended for new employees soon after they start, and at least annually, thereafter. Initial training should include complete education regarding the organization’s compliance program. Typical topics will include the operation and importance of the compliance program; the consequences of violating the standards and procedures set forth in the program, and; the role of each employee in the operation of the compliance program. Specific areas of training may include:

  • Federal and State fraud and abuse laws
  • Coding and documentation
  • Duty of employees to report misconduct
  • Non-retaliation policy for good faith reporting
  • Stark and Anti-kickback statutes
  • Specific job functions applicable to employees

Consider using a variety of teaching methods, such as:

  • Interactive training
  • In-person training sessions
  • One-on-one training
  • Group training
  • Monthly newsletters or bulletins

Regardless of the training modality, ensure that education leads to a better understanding. This may mean editing education that is too long or confusing.

As you identify potential areas of weakness in your organization (discussed further, below), educate providers and staff about your findings, and about how to minimize vulnerabilities, going forward.

Document all training and keep copies of any training materials. Maintain a training log, as well as an attestation from the employee that he or she has received and understands the training. An organization will have greater protection if it can demonstrate that it provided employees with proper training, and that employees have attested to the training.

Many offices now use online training software, whereby staff attests to the training by completing a test or quiz. The benefits include not only the ability to track all training assignments by due date, but also to identify quickly those employees who are overdue for training, and those who have passed versus failed the training. Such a system allow everyone in the organization access to training materials, at all times, and provides a convenient means to update policies and to alert everyone of the changes.

Training and education may cover compliance concerns beyond coding and billing, such as Federal and State employment laws and regulations, HIPAA, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.