Have you ever felt like the kid in the story yelling “the sky is falling”? At times I actually think that I’m becoming pessimistic in nature and that we don’t really need to spend that much money in all these administrative tasks. Then reality hits me in the face and I realized I was right by being obsessive compulsive.
For example, so far in four months of the year I have seen a quadruple increase in terms of the audits and unannounced inspections I have seen. I should not complain as this is great for the consulting business but it gets to the point of exhausting as when they happen these prospective Clients want to accomplish the work of years in a couple of days.
I don’t worry too much about my on-going clients as we normally develop a plan and stick pretty much to it; however this is not true for many healthcare professionals and organizations. So today instead of quoting regulations, fines, and horror histories I’m going to stick to my recommendations or what I consider the “Must Haves”.
1. Human Resources.
a. Policies and Procedures. Have a basic manual where you define your expectations from your employees and the basic benefits you offer. Don’t go cheap on me a buy a template that you won’t look at it as this may cost you a bundle in the future. Also make sure that you include a sanction policy as part of the same as this is a required policy by many regulations and the same will delineate your rights as an employer. Last but not least, remember to include a statement regarding whether employees are “at will” or not. Additional topics you should cover include employee classifications, time keeping, payment, rate of overtime pay if applicable, bonus policies, work schedules, breaks, time off and attendance.
b. Job Descriptions. At the very least have a basic paper defining what you expect from your employees. Remember that under HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act there are some basic job descriptions that you are expected to have. The format is up to you and you can change it as many times as you want but make sure you do have something for every employee.
2. HIPAA. Keep in mind that Privacy and Security are different components of HIPAA and the same required different items to be covered. HIPAA Security is quite demanding and less forgiving so don’t slack and get to work. Start with a Risk Assessment and then follow it with a Risk Management Plan. Just as important, document everything you are doing.
3. Affordable Care Act (ACA). A new requirement that will catch many professionals unprepared is ACA’s/Office of the Inspector General (OIG) compliance plan. In my book the recommendations from the OIG have always been solid and if implemented properly helps us run a more efficient office. So don’t complain and get to work.
4. OSHA. Regardless of what type of business you run, if you are in the United States of America OSHA applies to you. Go to https://www.osha.gov/ and read on the requirements that apply to your business. Include as part of your OSHA program a recall roster and a list of important numbers so your staff can act in case of emergencies.
5. Training. I personally created an Introductory program for every business I own and every one that I managed. I also added reminders and annual reviews as part of my training programs. I also believe very strongly in the cost effectiveness of On Boarding Programs so for me is better to train well than to replace.
Of course there are other tasks and “things” that I consider important but based on my experience the above tasks shall simplify your life and prevent problems in the future in the end remember that: mistakes are paid with money and there are some that you will never be able to recover from.