I am a proponent of annual staff meetings as a very effective management tool for the running of a business. Take a half day and do it off-site somewhere – it doesn’t have to be fancy, but a change in scenery makes a difference in people’s attidude and attention – their work isn’t lying within eyesight.
While it is not a requirement per se, the guidance from the federal regulatory agenices suggest, and I concur, that you review your corporate compliance expectations once a year. The principal reason for doing this is to remind your staff how seriously you consider compliance. This part of your meeting – 15 minutes should be enough time –
should come from the the managing physician as well as the practice administrator/manager. The key points to emphasize: your policy to comply with the law and regulations, that any questions or suspicions of poor practice should be reported to the people you designate, and that there will be no retribution to anyone who comes forward with a report. As an entity, it is in your best interest for people to flag a problen internally rather than being discovered later by an auditor. Lastly, everyone who attends should sign a form acknowledging that they have attended the session and understand their obligations and responsibilities to the organization.
The federal False Claims Act does provide for a whistle-blower to sue the offending party, and they can collect a significant reward. However, courts have blocked a whistleblower who was part of fraudulent billing at a hospital but did not report it internally. The lesson here is simple: have a system that is safe for an employee to report a problem, AND make very sure that you act on any reports.
Since you are already discussing compliance with the laws related to health care fraud and abuse, it makes sense to extend your discussion to discuss sexual harassment policies, policies on gifts from vendors (including pharmaceutical reps) and so on.
In the bustle of the day, management issues get short shrift. This is a good time of year to stop and regoup, share the success of the year, the challenges ahead and the plans for the future. Bring your staff into the New Year on a high note, ready and motivated to work hard to serve the people you care for.