Established in 1996, Health Care Compliance Association, or HCCA, is an international non-profit membership organization for health care compliance professionals. To promote high standards in adherence programs throughout the health care industry. Memberships are available at varying levels and are designed to suit individual needs. By engaging in hands-on practice, members will gain knowledge of the latest trends and developments affecting the health care industry. These efforts help to provide the tools, information, and training necessary to ensure compliance with various Federal, State, and Industry regulations.
Members may choose to work in a variety of capacities
including those responsible for enrollment, training, collection, and maintenance of quality data, and education and counseling on health care compliance. Training and education efforts are geared towards maintaining appropriate levels of patient care, HIPPA compliance, and knowledge of current government laws and regulations that govern health care practices. Programs are also directed towards providing members with in-depth information regarding emerging trends and new government laws related to health-care professionals. Members can participate in Health Care Compliance Newsletters to receive regular updates on regulatory changes and industry trends.
According to HCCA’s mission and philosophy, its members work to promote and maintain high ethical standards of practice. Additionally, to protect the rights of patients and uphold justice in the legal system, HCCA works towards educating, training, and advising its members on issues of ethics, professional responsibility, client/patient confidentiality, and compliance programs. Specific areas of focus include: professional liability; managed care systems; patient protection; health care law and ethics; practice management; and regulatory issues. To maintain these high standards of conduct and practice, members must annually complete an ethics training course that focuses on Health Care Compliance and Health Care Administration. A certification program is also offered to registered agents in select states to verify proficiency.
The requirements for becoming a certified compliance program administrator vary from state to state. Most states require a bachelor’s degree in healthcare compliance or legal studies for professionals working at the state level. In some states, a master’s degree is required for professionals working at the federal level. Some states also require completion of a training and experience program. Health care compliance certification is not a pre-requisite for working in compliance offices, although most states do expect candidates to have some experience working in the field.
Another aspect of health care compliance focuses on the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
The NALA conducts a number of professional development seminars and educational activities to educate both healthcare providers and consumers about the changes brought about by the health care reform legislation. The seminars focus on NALA’s code of ethics, and how they apply to healthcare providers. Seminars on legal issues also help healthcare providers learn about the claims act and its changes, such as those related to providers’ professional liability. Seminars on ethical leadership are available in many areas.
Healthcare industry groups represent several sectors of the industry, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, clinics and others. Several professional associations are also linked to healthcare compliance programs. For example, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists offers annual Conferences focusing on ethics in clinical practices. Other associations include the American Society of Medical Assistants, the American Academy of Forensic Science, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Rheumatology. These associations offer courses and information pertaining to ethics in clinical practice, medical malpractice, and insurance claims.
- Many healthcare organizations offer education and development programs for staff members on issues that directly affect their compliance activities.
- In addition to providing staff members with knowledge and information about health care compliance,
- Such programs may also provide opportunities for training and development.
Programs may focus on topics such as managing regulatory documents, reducing billing errors and costs, and staying compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
Staff members are usually responsible for making decisions about their own performance and how to report instances of their misconduct or unethical behavior. In addition to having a direct impact on their job performance, poor reporting may result in punishment or demotion. Because of this, many compliance officers emphasize the importance of maintaining high moral standards even outside of the work environment. Maintaining moral and ethical standards is an important part of staff development programs. Thus, staff members have a responsibility to both the organization and themselves to effectively promote good health care and compliance.