Name the hottest job in America right now.
None of the above.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the hottest job in America right now is (drum roll please….)
In the WSJ article, one compliance officer succinctly described the job as “preventative law,” or “helping [managers] to understand the business of the company, and helping them navigate around these land mines they may not be aware of in terms of compliance risk.”
Sounds vaguely familiar. From my background page on www.bittingerlaw.com: “Her primary practice area is health law, and her expertise thrives in helping health care providers and businesses navigate the web of complex regulations governing the industry.”
If you don’t think compliance is an issue in healthcare, think again, and then click here. It’s a website for the Department of Justice with nice reading about the kickback and false claims cases U.S. attorneys across the country are filing against physicians and hospitals. According to the Department of Justice, the sector which had the most collections from prosecutions of fraud was the healthcare sector.
Why the increase? Are providers suddenly more fraudulent than usual? No. The Department of Health and Human Services is dedicating unprecedented dollars in enforcing healthcare fraud. And they are getting better at it. DHHS is utilizing new technology to find outliers amongst their hospital and physician peers, and using that data to recoup payments.
It’s the start of the new year. Time to take a look in the mirror and make resolutions for improvement. Who’s looking in your health care company’s mirror?
You may have patients coming in for annual exams at the start of the year. Who is performing your practice’s or your hospital’s annual exam? Just like Americans need preventative medicine, health care companies need preventative compliance programs. The goal of our compliance work is to proactively anticipate issues and to prevent them.
How do we ”do” healthcare compliance at The Bittinger Law Firm? We go in to health care companies, physician practices and health systems to assess the efficacy of a current compliance program. We also know how to start them from scratch.
Our goal is to tailor a program (not a binder, not a plan, but a program) to suit your company’s operations and needs. We ask a lot of questions. We sometimes see clients get a little uncomfortable. But we believe they would rather be uncomfortable in front of the attorney who they have paid to help them instead of an attorney paid by the state or federal taxpayers, if you know what I mean.
(It helps promote compliance, too, if your compliance offer doesn’t mind his or her face photo-shopped on a caricature of a superhero called Captain Compliance. Delivery of information with illustration is sometimes as important as the substance of the information itself.)
One of the tools we use is the OIG Work Plan, published each January by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s like the sheriff’s department publishing the locations of DUI checks in advance. If you are in health care and your compliance officer isn’t focusing your compliance efforts on the Work Plan items, you’re driving your company smack through a DUI checkpoint. Says the work plan: “hospital and physician providers should evaluate their compliance programs to determine if the current program should be modified to incorporate any of the OIG focus areas for 2013.”
You can’t say they didn’t warn you.