Differences Between Healthcare Compliance Officer and HR

Julie Horibe, BSN, RN, CPN
Compliance and HR

There is one way to describe the relationship between HR professionals and compliance officers: It’s complicated. The two complementary yet distinct teams often find their work overlapping, leading to confusion on where specific responsibilities lie and who should take the lead in certain areas. Ultimately, both roles foster a healthy, law-abiding, and efficient workplace.

As you see these roles work together, you might wonder about the difference between a compliance officer and human resources in healthcare.

What Is The Difference Between A Compliance Officer and Human Resources In Healthcare?

Compliance and HR work toward the same goal: adherence to legal regulations, regulatory standards, and ethical principles set by company leadership. Where the HR and compliance paths diverge is in their unique responsibilities:

A compliance officer ensures the organization adheres to all external legal standards and internal policies, including prominent laws and regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations governing healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. They develop and implement compliance programs that include policies, practices, and procedures to ensure all departmental operations align with federal and state laws.

A human resources professional manages the employee lifecycle from recruitment to retirement. HR professionals are tasked with attracting, hiring, and retaining the best talent in the competitive healthcare market. They develop job descriptions, conduct interviews, and oversee the onboarding process to ensure new hires are well-integrated into the organization’s culture and operations. They are responsible for developing policies that govern the employment relationship between the organization and its employees. This includes policies related to compensation, benefits, performance management, employee relations, and workplace conduct.

Different Paths Converge For The Same Goal

Healthcare compliance officers and human resources professionals are complementary in ensuring healthcare organizations adhere to regulatory requirements and ethical standards. Collaboration between these two functions is essential for fostering a culture of compliance and addressing various challenges in healthcare compliance.

Here’s how healthcare compliance officers and HR professionals can work together on compliance:

Policy Development and Implementation

Compliance Officer Human Resources Professional
Develops and implements policies and procedures that align with regulatory requirements and organizational goals. Contributes their expertise in employment law and organizational policies to ensure that compliance initiatives are integrated seamlessly into HR practices.

Training and Education

Compliance Officer Human Resources Professional
Ensures all regulatory and accreditation training requirements are met and tracked. Contributes their knowledge of training methodologies and organizational culture to develop and deploy effective compliance training programs.

Hiring and Onboarding

Compliance Officer Human Resources Professional
Collaborates with HR on employee onboarding to ensure all appropriate training is completed and policies received and acknowledged before the employee starts work. Responsible for recruiting and hiring employees and ensuring HR hiring documentation is completed, and employees have a positive experience.

Compliance Monitoring and Auditing

Compliance Officer Human Resources Professional
Oversees compliance monitoring activities, including audits, risk assessments, and internal investigations. Assists by providing documentation for employment start and end dates and facilitating the transfer of training completion and certifications to or from other employers.

Employee Relations and Investigations

Compliance Officer Human Resources Professional
Provide guidance and support to HR professionals during investigations, offering expertise in regulatory requirements and ethical considerations. Manage employee relations and conduct investigations into allegations of misconduct or violations of compliance policies.

Reporting and Documentation

Compliance Officer Human Resources Professional
Responsible for maintaining accurate records and documentation related to compliance activities. Ensure that personnel files and documentation related to employee training, certifications, and compliance-related incidents are up-to-date and easily accessible for regulatory inspections and audits.

Get tips and tricks for effective compliance training.

Culture of Collaboration

Developing a culture of compliance within healthcare extends beyond meeting legal obligations; it is a cornerstone for delivering safe, ethical, and top-tier care. Collaboration between healthcare compliance officers and HR professionals fosters a culture of continuous improvement, where feedback from compliance activities is used to enhance policies, procedures, and training programs. By working together, these professionals can identify areas for improvement and implement corrective measures to strengthen compliance practices within the organization.

Compliance officers and human resource professionals can more easily support organizational compliance efforts using today’s technology. MedTrainer’s comprehensive suite of tools and resources offers valuable support to healthcare organizations, ultimately contributing to improved compliance and patient care. By systematically addressing compliance risks, healthcare organizations can foster a culture of accountability and ensure the delivery of ethical, safe, and high-quality healthcare services.