Meaghan Moriarty, Senior Associate General Counsel, Allina Health
Thomas S. Schroeder, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels
Tracey Stanich Witherow, Manager, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, Allina Health
Our speakers pulled together a fun, scripted case study to demonstrate how internal legal, compliance, and outside counsel can successfully work together to handle Stark-related risks and issues. Compliance and legal activities around Stark falls into three general categories:
- Identifying the Risk
- Developing the Program
- Taking Action When Issue Arises
Identifying the Risk
Compliance operates primarily to prevent violations by developing processes that are comprehensive and geared towards establishing best practices across the organization. When concerns come up in compliance, it is their responsibility to consult with their counsel to properly determine next steps. Compliance should use legal as a close partner is determining what is a real issue and what situations are protected.
Developing the Program
Once a compliance program is put in place, it’s important to continuously listen to feedback from employees in order to continuously revise and improve. There should be a standard process established that is sufficient to process the majority of contracts and doesn’t require legal to participate. There should also be clear next steps for how to interact with legal when contracting deviates from the standard process for any reason.
Taking Action When an Issue Arises
Don’t be afraid to report and confront contracting issues, present or past, in your organization. Effectively burying your head in the sand will not serve your organization well. Internal and external counsel should work together to combine deep knowledge of hospital operations and broad legal experience, respectively, when an issue does arise. Utilize other partners, like accounts payable, to resolve ongoing risks. Compliance is stronger when multiple stakeholders have a vested interest and active participation in the processes that make it successful.