At The IT Company, we have many customers in the medical field, so we have some first-hand knowledge of the complexity of healthcare compliance. In our many years of experience, we have seen how much time, dedication and consistency is involved in keeping up with compliance regulations. We spoke with our customer Baptist Eye Surgeons about their experience with compliance.
For many years, Baptist Eye Surgeons delegated the role of compliance to their Office Manager. In years past, they would have an annual PowerPoint presentation followed by a quiz to ensure all employees were aware of compliance rules. However, the information was like a binder on a shelf, and only pulled out when it was needed. It wasn’t as effective as it needed to be. Two years ago, they made a conscious decision that compliance is something that needs to be constant, something that needs to be living and breathing and a continual focus of the practice. This decision led them to develop a position dedicated to compliance.
Misty Booker, who was previously the AR Manager at Baptist Eye, was promoted to the role of Compliance Manager. The positive impact this position has had on Baptist Eye is immense. Misty shared that people have not always had a full understanding of what they can and cannot do. Misty’s goal is to do her job so well, that every doctor and staff member truly understands compliance. In the event of any investigation, she wants all personnel to know exactly what process to follow.
“It has allowed us all to have an awareness and understanding of what compliance truly is, not just what we thought it entailed.”
As Misty has transitioned into the role of Compliance Manger, both she and the physicians have been surprised at just how much compliance entails. They’ve always known there were rules and regulations, but having a person dedicated to compliance has unveiled the depth and detail involved. The greatest challenge of this role is not in learning all the regulations but finding ways to implement them to benefit and improve Baptist Eye Surgeons.
Misty spends her days researching and learning new things and then putting them into place to benefit the practice. She is constantly making a list of things they can improve on and how they can strengthen current policies. Compliance is a work in progress – it will never be finished. There will always be things to change and new policies to be implemented. Misty’s role as Compliance Manager allows her to stay up to date on ever evolving compliance regulations.
Misty sends quarterly newsletters to all employees and doctors discussing different compliance topics and keeping them informed. Any time she reads an article or blog that relates to compliance, she sends it out for all staff to read. Another one of Misty’s goals is to have regularly scheduled compliance meetings.
When Misty came into her role as Compliance Manager, Baptist Eye had a HIPAA manual for the security portion, but it only had a few of the policies laid out. One of her main goals was finishing this manual. The IT Company worked hand in hand with Misty on this. Paul Sponcia came alongside her to implement these polices and look at what the next steps will be. Paul has been a strong resource of knowledge for Misty. She shares that “I came into this knowing the bare minimum. I wouldn’t have gotten where I am without Paul guiding me on what our policies need to be, what our procedures should look like and what do we need to do and why.”
Without someone dedicated to compliance, there truly isn’t enough time to be as knowledgeable as the medical field requires you to be. And without the dedicated time, it limits the knowledge the practice has, putting them more at risk for disaster.
It is very rare for small practices to have a person solely dedicated to compliance. However, for Baptist Eye Surgeons, it is a necessity.