COMPLIANCE TRAINING FAQS
Compliance training frequently asked questions
Compliance training is an ongoing process to educate staff about responsibilities surrounding compliance and regulation and law changes. These laws are primarily in place to maintain workplace safety and patient dignity. Compliance training is mandatory and a good compliance training program helps prevent poor conduct while ensuring proper governance in an organization, which helps minimize risk, maintain reputation, and provide an overall better environment for employees and patients.
Compliance training also ensures employees know how and why they need to adhere to compliance standards while promoting behavior that leads to the prevention of any conduct that does not fall in line with compliance regulations and requirements.
In healthcare particularly, there is a broad spectrum of regulations that must be followed, including HIPAA to Stark Laws and the False Claims Act, just to name a few.
Healthcare compliance training is not only for physicians and nurses. This kind of training must be given to all workers, such as clinical assistants, front office staff, and other medical assistants.
Well-trained compliance officers work to train employees to protect the healthcare organization in addition to the patients they serve.
When compliance training is ignored, organizations risk becoming involved in messy legal troubles and tarnishing their image to their patients and the general public.
Compliance is an ever-evolving and increasingly complex aspect of healthcare that presents significant challenges to providers. Without sufficient training, intended and accidental data breaches will continue to happen that have the potential of ruining a healthcare organization’s reputation by leaking sensitive patient information.
Other reasons why compliance training is so important in healthcare include:
- It promotes workplace safety. If you neglect compliance training, it’s just a matter of time until an employee gets hurt or sick while dealing with chemicals and other biohazards and the number of other risks associated with healthcare careers.
- It’s mandatory. There’s no getting around compliance training. Federal, state and local agencies all have their own set of compliance regulations that must be followed. For example, OSHA mandates that workers are provided with adequate workplace health and safety training. Other OSHA regulations contain specific training requirements, such as standards for workplace hazards, communication and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- It’s good for business. When you invest in compliance training, you’ll reduce insurance-related costs, lost productivity, legal fines, etc. Effective compliance training can save healthcare organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
The top challenges of healthcare compliance training include:
- New and changing healthcare laws and regulations.
- Tax reform.
- Intelligent technologies and AI.
These are the major laws related to compliance that compliance managers have to keep a close watch on:
False Claims Act (FCA): The False Claims Act imposes civil liability on people who knowingly submit or cause a false or fraudulent claim to be submitted to the government. For example, a surgeon knowingly bills patients for extra services not rendered.
Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS): Under The Anti-Kickback Statute, it is illegal to willfully and knowingly offer, pay, solicit or receive any kind of compensation for patient referrals to generate business that involves any item or service that is reimbursable by the federal government through a federal healthcare program. For example, a dentist’s office offers free lunch to patients who refer their friends to the office.
Physician Self-Referral Law: The Physician Self-Referral Law is also known as the Stark Law. It bans physicians from referring patients to receive “designated health services” that are payable by Medicare or Medicaid from any organizations the physician or a member of their immediate family has a financial relationship with. For example, Dr. Isabelle writes prescriptions for Medicaid patients and requires them to be filled at a pharmacy her husband owns. Sometimes, there are exceptions to this rule.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA): HIPAA is probably the most commonly known healthcare law. It protects physical and electronic patient records and personal information.
The major benefit of training employees on compliance is that it helps avoid disruptive workplace violations, which in turn promotes:
- A safer workplace for employees.
- A safer clinical setting for patients.
- Easier to secure insurance.
- A protected business reputation.
- Lowers risk of legal action such as civil damages and penalties and criminal sanctions.
- Reduces absenteeism caused by workplace injuries and illnesses.
- Improves quality of care.
- Creates a central source of information on all healthcare laws and regulations.
- Develops a reporting mechanism and procedures that allow for a prompt and thorough investigation of alleged misconduct.
To get started with compliance training in healthcare, you should research compliance laws in your area and ensure your current compliance plan falls in line with the requirements. Then, plan to train your employees on the most up-to-date information. Online compliance training can take the headache out of putting a healthcare compliance course together because the solution offers a package deal that comes with course materials, automated enrollment, course delivery, reporting and tracking training statuses to make sure all employees pass and complete their compliance training on time.
Healthcare compliance training is best done online as it allows staff members to go at their own pace and schedule without being confined to more hours at the office — taking them away from family and personal obligations.
As you want your students to understand the material, it’s important to offer it in a way that can be assessed throughout a learning lesson or module. Then, you’ll have the chance to address learning gaps and re-assess what the student has learned and what they still need to learn or brush up on.
It’s also important to document everything when it comes to compliance training, no matter your company’s size. This protects your organization and staff, your livelihood and your patients. Earlier we talked about the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. There’s a reason their number one component is to “implement written policies, procedures and standards of conduct.”
For a compliance training program to be successful, effort and professional drive are required. To make this happen, you need to create a culture of compliance at your organization, led by senior management.
Make sure your compliance plan and training are easy to read at different education levels and available in different languages so that all employees can understand the compliance plan and why compliance training is so critical to stay current.
To motivate your employees to complete their compliance training, you can use the following strategies:
- Get — and hold — their attention. Adult learners like to know what’s in it for them specifically and how the training will help them excel at their role. Make sure your learning outcomes are relevant to all employees and their specific job roles.
- Use real-world examples. Again, adult learners want to know exactly how something they learn will impact them. Real-world scenarios drive home the point in a way your employees relate to rather than the concepts seeming outlandish and remaining abstract.
- Use interactive design to help grab attention and curiosity. Don’t go overboard because too much interaction and design can be distracting and interfere with how learners are retaining knowledge.
- Keep the training relevant. You should customize training based on each employee or group of employees’ duties so that it’s relevant to them. They will be far more likely to stay engaged with the material when it relates to them and their job. On the other hand, when training content isn’t relevant, it won’t motivate learners to complete their training — it will do the exact opposite, leaving them with a negative impression of all training.
- Adaptive learning. Learners get very annoyed when they have to go through training for things they already know and are proficient in. Unfortunately, some compliance training has to be done every two years and therefore will become mundane much easier. Adaptive learning can help. The technology gives learners a series of questions before they start a course or lesson. If they answer incorrectly, they are sent to the relevant section of the course. If they answer correctly, they are free to skip the topic.
To make healthcare compliance training more engaging, you can:
- Set expectations for success. Most people are more motivated when there’s a clearly defined goal or expectation ahead of them—for example, passing a quiz at the end of each training unit. This gives them something to focus on and strive for, which naturally results in them engaging deeper with the content to ensure they get a good score or beat their co-worker’s score, etc.
- Let learners re-do courses or quizzes. Let your learners know that if they struggle with a particular quiz, section, or even the entire compliance course, they can re-do it. Instead of having them write off the subject in frustration after receiving a bad grade, the ability to re-do what they failed will motivate them to engage further with the material, so they pass or raise their score.
- Use social learning. Students are much more likely to engage when they have the chance to interact with their peers. This can be done through group activities, discussions, forums or breakout sessions where learners are free to ask questions and brainstorm as a group.
- Incorporate activities. Relevant activities are an excellent way to increase engagement. For a fraud course, you can include a group activity where your staff is taken with investigating red flags in scenarios related to their job.
- Engage in microlearning. Microlearning is bite-sized bits of information that make it much easier to study and remember. When employees are free to take their time going through micro-lessons, they'll find the content much more engaging. Microlearning has been shown to increase retention by 20 percent compared to more formal and lengthy training processes.
- Foster feelings of satisfaction. Completing compliance training should be a satisfying feeling and learners should feel proud and accomplished.
- Provide instant feedback to increase the learners’ feelings of satisfaction. Good old-fashioned “kudos” can go a long way to increasing confidence and improving knowledge retention.
You should mandate that employees participate in healthcare compliance training at least once per year because the key to staying in compliance is staying on top of fluctuating laws and regulations. But, don’t stop there. In addition to at least an annual compliance training, you should supplement it with effective and periodic communication, quizzes, games and other activities to keep best compliance practices and laws fresh in the minds of your employees to ensure all business outcomes are taking place ethically and lawfully. It’s pretty hard to remember things we discuss only once a year, so supplementing traditional compliance training with other learning-based activities throughout the year is a must. Incorporate compliance training as part of your regular employee development and retraining efforts, whether that’s quarterly, twice per year or even annually.
No matter which kind of healthcare compliance training program you’re building — virtual or in-person — there are a few key features to include while developing your program.
- Make it personal. The last thing you want is for your compliance training to be a long list of “do-nots.” Instead, it should be specific and personalized to each employee and their duties. Don’t forget the real-world examples and scenarios.
- Make it interesting. When people are bored, they’re unlikely to remember anything — or even stay awake! When information is presented creatively and includes other techniques besides reading and answering questions, learners are much more likely to remember what they’re learning and be able to apply it IRL. Tell a story, tell some jokes, use charts and visual aids, use statistics from case studies, or even animation to intrigue your employees and hold their attention.
- Make it easy to understand. We all remember that one teacher — or teachers if we’re super unlucky — who spewed information at 100 miles per hour with no context or ways to understand it. For people to follow the rules and stay in compliance, they need to understand them! So, it’s essential to ensure all training content is concise, simple and able to be understood by different levels of professions and education. Don’t overload the learners with too much information and avoid using too many technical terms and hard-to-comprehend data. Doing so is especially hard for newer employees who are still learning the terminology.
- Make it accessible. It can be challenging and even impossible to find a time that works for all employees to get together for training, especially for employees who work remotely and who may be at a geographic disadvantage. People can also get sick, their childcare can be unreliable, and other personal emergencies can arise. When there’s only one training opportunity, some employees are bound to miss out. This is why online compliance training programs are so important because they allow people to access the information when they’re free to. They’re also able to re-read the information as many times as they need to while learning at their own pace. They can even refer back to certain lessons when real-life situations pop up to help them make the best decision. Compliance training software also lets compliance managers keep tabs on their employees during training and make sure they’re staying on course with their assessments and lessons. There’s also the option to send automatic reminders when people are late on completing assignments or tests.
- Make it ongoing. Like we just said, one-day training sessions just aren’t that effective. Instead, ongoing training allows employees to stay aware of changes in healthcare laws and regulations while also being reminded regularly of policies, procedures and best practices, which helps cement them in their brains rather than allowing them to slip into bad habits when they forget the procedures or when they’re not regularly reminded of them.
Did you know that 91 percent of meeting attendees admit to daydreaming during meetings? What’s more, over one-third of them admit to dozing off! So, how can we avoid this and create fun and engaging compliance training?
One great way to boost engagement is to conduct online training. Research shows that online courses increase student retention rates by 25 to 60 percent.
The implementation of an online healthcare compliance training course gives your staff the freedom to choose when and where they sit through the course. When they can access the course when they have the time instead of while trying to make dinner or put their kids to bed, they’ll have the time and focus required to be receptive to the material, distraction-free.
Games are also great ways to boost engagement and make training fun. Compliance trivia, scavenger hunts, compliance scenarios simulations and choose-your-own-adventure-style games are all ideas that are fairly simple to implement.
If you’re not into gamification, even switching up the format you offer your training content in will do wonders for engagement. This is because not everyone has the same learning style. Some people learn best with words, while others learn best with images. When you involve as many different learning styles as possible in your compliance training, it becomes easier for learners to become deeply embedded in the knowledge as it’s offered via different sensory channels.
Putting compliance at the core of your organization’s culture is a great way to get employees motivated to participate and complete their training. For this reason, a culture of compliance must be promoted at every level in healthcare. The ongoing process of the healthcare compliance program should be proactive and change with fluctuations in regulations and the needs of the healthcare organization. Here are some ways to start fostering a culture of compliance:
- Regularly conduct internal billing and coding audits. These internal audits should focus on areas with a high concentration of procedures or Medicare payments.
- Consistently train and educate staff. One-time training sessions for compliance simply aren’t going to cut in today’s fast-evolving world. Periodic education sessions are an excellent way to refresh employees’ minds and keep compliance at the top of their minds throughout their careers rather than after new employee training. These sessions can also be used to benchmark employees and test their knowledge. If they’re falling behind in a certain area, time for a refresher course!
- Respond and communicate. When an employee reports a compliance issue, you should thank them for their work and keep them updated along the way with actions you’re taking to remediate the situation. Also, never reprimand any employee who reports an incident.
- Make it meaningful. Break down compliance’s impact for each employee in terms that resonate with them. This will help them understand that no matter how big or small, everything is tied together and everyone needs to work together for a safe and compliant workplace.
Compliance training should be mandatory so that all employees are aware of the organization’s regulations, policies, and federal and state laws. Compliance training should be a must have for your organization! Also, there are consequences for not having compliance amongst an organization. Consequences include:
- Financial penalties and fines from state or federal institutions
- Sanctions and license suspension
- Risk of workplace injury and lawsuits
Online training has become an excellent option for organizations because it allows a lot of flexibility for employees. According to a study, it is found that online learning is as effective as face-to-face learning. In addition to online training being effective, it is less expensive than in person training because there is no need for a brick and mortar building to host the training. On the flip side, in person training does have some advantages for some people. However, with the customization and flexibility of remote training, it is a good fit for the majority of organizations.
Online training can be completely customized to the organization and industry that it is being used for. On a basic level, compliance training should at least include:
Safety Protocols. This includes things such as evacuation procedures in case of an emergency, how to use safeguards like gloves, face coverings, and eyewear.
Company Policies. Company policies include dress code, code of conduct, phone policy, and health and safety policy. The purpose of company policies is to ensure that all employees know how to conduct themselves within the company.
Diversity and Inclusion.
Compliance training is required to be completed annually. Considering federal and state regulations are changing on an ongoing basis, it is important to stay on top of compliance training sessions. Annual compliance training and ongoing training throughout the year will ensure that compliance is met and that all business practices are done lawfully. In addition to this, when a new employee is hired, a compliance training session should be conducted as well to ensure that the employee is up to date on what is expected of them in their position in order to stay fully compliant.
The frequency of an organization's compliance training ultimately is dependent on the organization itself. Some organizations have compliance issues come up more often than others. In this case, it is important for each organization to do its own self analysis to see where the strengths and weaknesses are. Also, looking at the regulations depending on each state is important in determining when it would be a good time to require compliance training for an organization.
There are some easy ways to make compliance training more engaging for employees and an event that they look forward to. Some tips that can help your organization are:
- Make it Conversational
Talk with your employees about the material, and not at them. Making it a conversation can make it more engaging and ultimately help employees retain the information that they are getting.
- Be Energetic
Often, employees will match the energy of their training facilitator. If you are excited about what is going on, then your employees will be as well.
- Play Games
Don’t allow employees to just sit in one place for hours! You want to keep them as active as possible. Including fun quizzes, puzzles, or interactive games are an easy way to keep the training sessions fun and engaging. Offer prizes to really get your team motivated to complete their training.
- Implement a Remote Training Program
If your employees are skilled at using and operating their mobile devices or computers, you can put them to use. Online compliance training allows employees to access it anywhere and anytime. Also, once they complete their training it allows them the opportunity to go in and review it as they need to.
There are many more ways to make compliance training more engaging for employees, but these are ways to start!
When selecting a training platform, it is important to evaluate several factors in order to make the best decision for your organization.
First and foremost, you should make sure that the platform you choose is simple to use and easy to understand. Both the training facilitators and the employees should feel the simplicity in the training platform.
Make sure that the training caters to all different learning styles. Training should not be one-size-fits all, because all employees learn differently.
Make sure that your training platform provides reporting and feedback. Employees should be able to analyze their results to see what parts of training they need to work on. It also allows for training facilitators to see where the employees are in their training.
- Customer Support
Ensuring that your training platform has customer support that can answer any questions you may have is an important factor to consider. Make sure the support team is responsive and they are quick to get issues resolved. Some compliance partners offer white glove support for their clients. They do the heavy lifting to ensure full compliance among your staff
Lastly, acquire a platform that fits in an allotted budget. Ultimately with proper training, your organization will end up saving money in the long run.
Successful compliance training courses can be hugely beneficial for a corporation. Certain elements should be included in order to make it successful. These elements include:
- Information on reducing risks
- Workplace violence
- Customer services standards
- Reporting violations
Risk assessment will identify what areas are in high risk and what should be prioritized. Reducing risk will ensure that there is less legal liability on the organization. Anti-harassment should be included in compliance training to give employees knowledge on what is acceptable behavior for them to exude and for them to tolerate from other employees and customers. This goes hand and hand with workplace violence, because it allows for employees to understand what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Understanding customer service standards ensures that employees know how to address interactions with customers, in any capacity. Lastly, reporting violations of compliance rules is the most important part of compliance training. Emphasizing that employees will be protected when they report violations is imperative to include in training.
Simply put, without proper compliance training a healthcare organization cannot successfully run a medical practice. Compliance training program allows for training facilitators to identify problems before the federal or state government does.
Compliance training allows healthcare organizations to avoid HIPAA violations, avoid breaking laws, and overall improve patient care. The physician-patient relationship is one of the most trusted and private relationships. Making sure that HIPAA is upheld and all patient data is secured and safe within the healthcare facility impacts the trust that patients have within the healthcare industry as a whole.
In order for the healthcare industry to remain compliant with regulations, training and educating staff is important. A common mistake could be formed by healthcare staff that are not trained on basic regulations and that can have a large impact on the healthcare industry.
Offering compliance training ensures that your organization does not have to face lawsuits or fines from the state or federal regulations. Proper training does come at a cost, due to training platforms and other materials that come with training. However, the cost of non-compliance is much steeper. Regulators may fine organizations for not complying with compliance training requirements. Or, lack of training can lead to a preventable event happening that hits the news and damages the reputation of your organization. No matter what the circumstance, compliance training can help avoid added cos
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