Compliance is all about having a culture and a system
Compliance is one of those sticky subjects that practice owners must keep at the forefront of their minds. The daily buzz of the clinic might feel controlled and repetitive. Still, it has never been easier to miss the mark with an ever-changing ecosystem of compliance regulations matched with innovative new technologies.
So, what are the best methods to ensure PT practice compliance?
They range from cultural integration and technology usefulness to simply having a plan and executing with trained staff. This article will explore some of the most impactful techniques and tips to outfit your clinic to compliance excellence.
Define Compliance for Your Practice and the Tools You will Have to Make it Happen
Too often, practices focus on strict regulations, disciplinary action, and careful monitoring of compliaa
Big or small, every clinic is subject to many regulations. The term compliance is utilized as a blueprint for physical therapists to navigate the laws and protect their patients and themselves from fraud and abuse.
But no clinic is the same, so your roadmap to perfection might look different than others.
Therefore, practice owners need to define compliance and tailor strategy specific to their operation aptly. The plan includes oversight and management of policies by appointing a leader, standards and procedures, communication, education, training, auditing, and follow up.
Once in writing, this plan often needs resources to be effective. Popular compliance solutions include software that catches billing and charge issues, a system that keeps patient information secure, and checks and balances to prevent employee abuse. Additionally, it is crucial to have a contact point, such as a compliance officer or committee.
Both the definition and the resources are imperative when tackling PT practice Compliance. Physical therapists can dramatically shift the odds of perfection in their favor with these and the following methods.
nce policies. And while that is important from a planning standpoint, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. Practice owners who catch employees upholding compliance standards, teaching others, and making proper decisions with sensitive data can use that opportunity to praise their staff—creating a winning workplace environment.
Make Compliance a Cultural Benchmark
Unfortunately, compliance tends to be an afterthought when practice owners define the terms of their culture—but it should not be. Company culture is a set of shared values, attitudes, and processes that determine the soul of an organization. And for that reason alone, compliance needs to be at the heart of the operation. When you can educate PTs about why compliance is essential through specific examples, it empowers them in their everyday decision-making.
In order to achieve this dream-like state, practice owners need to set transparent expectations. When PTs understand why they are doing something, how to do it, and the company’s goals, adherence skyrockets.
Use Technology to Enhance Efficiency
Technology is reshaping the way physical therapists are running their clinics and seeing patients. Furthermore, software makes compliance more accessible than ever before by protecting patient information and making processes more efficient.
Compliance is a moving target and one that requires consistent upkeep to stay in the green. The software you choose can have a massive impact on keeping your records consistent. Whether you are nailing down pesky billing issues or keeping up to date with Medicare recertification requirements, the proper software can make compliance-oriented tasks a breeze.
So if you are searching for something all-inclusive that can navigate programs such as ICD-10, Merit-Based-Incentive-Program (MIPS), and previous programs such as functional Limitation Report (FLR) and the Physician Quality Reporting System, it is important to shop around. See what MWTherapy can do to revolutionize your compliance program by looking into their free demo.
Audit and Identify Weaknesses
Practice owners need to be involved in compliance checks every step of the way. Checks can be incredibly strict with larger clinics with many moving pieces. The best practices for auditing and identifying opportunities involve assigning staff members to perform compliance checks and training. If PTs operate in a broader ecosystem, consider compliance offers, and dedicated committees to uphold the standard. In a smaller organization, one employee is designated to perform these duties. These members should be actively involved in the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) website and using their resources.
Each practice should also have a compliance reporting policy, complete with a written process for investigating reports. And while each appointed compliance committee or officer will have a different approach, the most crucial step is following up on reports and fixing compliance issues.
Document Compliance Standards
As of September 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a large number of problematic compliance complaints come from private practices and outpatient facilities. Among the infractions, impermissible uses and disclosures of protected health information were the most common documented infraction—followed by other issues regarding access and security of PHI.
These findings make a case for rock-solid compliance standards that are documented and accessible for the entire staff. When outlining the overall compliance plan, keep physical copies of company standards, and update PTs regularly.
Educate & Communicate Well
A dedicated compliance officer’s role is to uphold the standard through transparency and audits while teaching staff the latest developments. Education eliminates errors by attacking the root of the problem. When companies conduct training upon hiring and annual refreshers, the team will make fewer compliance infractions—simple as that.
Education should also involve opening lines of communication. The Office of Inspector General recommends frequent discussions at staff meetings to avoid erroneous or fraudulent conduct and community bulletin boards to keep staff members posted. These meetings’ topics should include HIPAA, charges and billing, occupational safety and health, and documentation requirements. Practice owners who consistently touch on their compliance plan should see massive improvements across the clinic.
Too often, practices focus on strict regulations, disciplinary action, and careful monitoring of compliance policies. And while that is important from a planning standpoint, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. Practice owners who catch employees upholding compliance standards, teaching others, and making proper decisions with sensitive data can use that opportunity to praise their staff—creating a winning workplace environment.
The Bottom Line
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy but starting with a game plan is vital. If you appoint staff members in a committee or maybe just one as the compliance officer, they can implement policies and procedures while tracking progress in real-time. These methods can help identify problems before they get out of control and keep data safe and secure. Physical therapy software such as MWTherapy can integrate with an already established system and make it even better by scrubbing for compliance errors and providing features that make compliance a breeze.
Whatever your plan may be, consider these tips while educating your staff on critical issues in the realm of compliance. Through education, planning, positivity, and a little bit of hard work, every practice can embrace these concepts quickly for years to come.