Common Regulatory Compliance Issues Facing Health and Human Services Organizations

Common Regulatory Compliance Issues Facing Health and Human Services Organizations

Regulatory compliance is the practice of conforming to and abiding by all laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications relevant to a given organization. While all industries are faced with unique compliance obligations that must be adhered to, maintaining regulatory compliance is especially crucial for Health and Human Services organizations. Not only are the policies surrounding these organizations constantly changing, but the penalties and fines associated with noncompliance can directly impact organization’s bottom line and, more importantly, the quality of care delivered to their patients.

According to the 2018 State of Workforce Management report, 78% of Health and Human Services organizations experienced numerous compliance issues within the past 12 months. A further 48% of these executives reported that ‘Maintaining Regulatory Compliance’ was a top priority for their organization going into 2018. Clearly, executives understand the importance of compliance, yet many struggle taking proper action to minimize compliance risks. To better prepare their organizations for future issues and implement tools to prevent noncompliance, it’s important for executives to understand the common struggles that others in their industry encounter.

Below is a list of the top three challenges Health and Human Services executives struggle with when it comes to maintaining regulatory compliance.

Keeping Up with Policy Changes
The 2018 State of Workforce Management report revealed that more than one in four Health and Human Services executives, 27%, struggle to keep up with the latest rules and regulations impacting their industry. That means that over a quarter of executives find themselves playing catch up each time policies are added, updated, or altered in any way. Staying on top of these changes is a key driver to avoiding compliance issues and allows executives enough time to adjust their compliance strategies.

To stay alert and aware of regulation changes, it’s a good idea for executives to create a plan that they can follow throughout the year. One of the most well-known plans was created by the U.S Department of Labor, and is called the “Plan, Prevent, Protect” initiative. This plan urges executives to create a “culture of compliance,” and provides steps on how to abide by wage, safety, and recruitment laws. Executives can also implement solutions or tools that can ensure compliance. While this method involves making an investment, automating compliance can save full time employees valuable time, and significantly decrease the amount of human error involved in maintaining regulatory compliance.

Collecting Employee Credentials
Most positions held within Health and Human Services organizations require some form of certification, licenses, documentation, or another form of credential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly three-quarters of all healthcare workers hold a license. Especially in organizations with hundreds of employees in multiple locations, the job of collecting, filing, and organizing each individual credential can feel like an endless uphill battle. However, if organizations fail to collect important documentation that certifies that an employee has the capacity to assume their position, there could be serious, costly consequences.

Performing this task manually can take up precious man hours, and can take away from HR’s primary responsibilities.  Fortunately, 78% of Health and Human Services executives believe that their organization has a robust credential management system in place to ensure compliance with all employee credentials. Alarmingly, however, these executives are still encountering compliance issues. This indicates that either the systems they have are inefficient, or they are simply unaware of better, more effective solutions on the market that have experience in Health and Human Services organizations. 

Keeping Credentials Up to Date
It’s not enough to simply have employee credentials collected, filed, and organized in a timely and efficient manner. These credentials then must be constantly monitored throughout the year, and renewed as soon as credentials start to expire. When done manually, it’s easy for expiring credentials to fly under the radar unnoticed. Modern credential management software solutions send notifications to employees, managers, and administrators so that corrective action can be made. Software like this makes it much easier to stay on top of employee credentials and keep them up to date at all times.

In the Health and Human Services industry, compliance is key to organizational survival. Many organizations can’t afford to deal with noncompliance. This is especially true for nonprofit organizations that possess tight budgets and limited resources. An article on Info Security Magazine expresses that the cost of compliance is far less than the penalties, fines, and costs associated with noncompliance. To overcome their compliance struggles, organizations must stay on top of the latest policies, collect all employee credential in an efficient manner, and ensure that all employee credentials are up to date.

This DATIS Blog was written by James Clark, DATIS, on February 12th, 2018 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by James Clark