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Compliance Officer

What is a compliance officer?

A compliance officer is an employee that ensures a company, organization, as well as individuals, adheres and complies with outside contractual obligations, government regulations, and laws, as well as internal obligations and bylaws. Healthcare compliance officers (also known by their acronym, HCOs) have become increasingly important as there is a consistent increase of policies and regulations being passed that healthcare entities must comply and adhere to. 

The duty of a compliance officer is to their employer; they must work to manage regulatory risk. The compliance officer is the bridge between a practitioner and daily operations and government regulation. If there is an occurrence where a regulatory breach occurs, the compliance officer is the one who has to engage in disciplinary measures and have regulations in place for avoiding or future occurrences. 

Compliance officers may need to mitigate the risk of breaches by updating internal policies to decrease the healthcare entity’s risk of breaching a law or contract. 

A compliance officer is very important in reducing a company’s financial crime and preventing risks. These risks could result in:

    • Hefty fines 

    • Damaging of reputation 

    • Legal repercussions and responsibilities 

    • Breach patient privacy 

    • Potentially compromise patient safety


What are the responsibilities of a compliance officer?

A compliance officer is responsible for: 

    • Reviewing practices

    • Maintaining regulatory knowledge 

    • Educating staff

    • Reviewing and updating internal policies 

    • Filing and preparing documents 

    • Identifying potential risk

    • Understanding healthcare legal risk 

The job title of a healthcare compliance officer has become an integral part of the healthcare system; they are an objective voice in handling any grievances patients might have. This means compliance officers handle complaints, hold other employees accountable, and safeguard whistleblowers. 

There are certain skills that are beneficial to HCOs to help with their daily routine and duties. 

    • Communication skills

      •  An HCO is the bridge between many different branches and they need to be able to communicate across many platforms. 

    • Organization and attention to detail 

      • HCOs create and organize policies for healthcare entities. The policies must be thorough and cover overlapping responsibilities within the organization which leads to cohesive and productive regulation. 

    • Problem-solving 

      • With the steady increase in governmental regulations, continually updating internal bylaws, entities failing to comply, and patient issues, an HCO must be able to think on their feet and come up with detailed solutions to satisfy the party that has failed to uphold a regulation.

    • Leadership 

      • Strong leadership skills are required to head up grievances or issues in an entity or individual not complying with regulations.

    • High ethics 

      • A sense of right and wrong is needed to discern the issue and the solution to a breach or any other issues that are thrown an HCOs way. 

    • Reading comprehension

      • Handling policies and regulations involves numerous comprehensive duties to really understand all the ways that a law or regulation could affect the individual or the healthcare entity. 

HCOs also engage in fostering and promoting an environment that creates organization and helps with trust, increasing communication, and prioritizes the safety of patients. An HCO serves to benefit the organization, employees, and patients. 

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