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Ramp Up Your Compliance Training

7Atlis provides a clear path to sure-footed compliance education and training.

By Michelle Ann Richards, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CPPM
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 mandates all practices, regardless of size, implement a compliance program. Although a deadline for doing this has yet to be announced, it’s always better to be prepared. If your practice or organization does not have a written policy in its compliance plan for physician and staff training and education, now is the time to do so.

Awareness Is the First Step

Training is an essential element of a compliance program. If a practice or medical organization’s employees are not aware of compliance laws and office policies pertaining to their specific job descriptions, you can’t hold them accountable for the problems they may unwittingly create.
Best practices for ensuring your employees receive appropriate compliance training:

  • Have a job description for every position.
  • Define effective and engaging training that coordinates with your employees’ job descriptions.
  • Motivate your employees to learn more.
  • Track and document employees’ compliance training.
  • Measure Training Outcomes

To develop ongoing training and fulfill education requirements, best practices are to measure outcomes and determine whether current teaching methods are effective. For training to be effective, it should make a strong impression, produce a response from your employees, and be useful. Conduct competency testing to measure comprehension, and it’s a good idea to use pre- and post-training questionnaires to determine an employee’s engagement during the training. Also, provide employees with an avenue for expressing opinions about the training and for suggesting future trainings or resources that will help them.
Overall, training should be delivered, received, understood, and retained effectively. There is a variety of teaching methods you can use. A few examples are:

  • Interactive training
  • In-person training sessions
  • One-on-one training
  • Group training
  • Monthly newsletters or bulletins

Who Should Be Trained?

All personnel, employees, leadership, independent contractors, and agents should be educated on the significance of your compliance program. Be sure everyone understands the goal is to ensure a culture of compliance within your organization. As with any change in an organization, if employees are aware of why and how new policies will affect them personally, they will be less resistant to the changes.
Everyone should be educated in their role and adhere to the practice’s compliance program. They should understand their duty to report misconduct, the procedures and methods to report suspected misconduct, confidentiality and when and where confidentiality ends, and the non-retaliation policy for good faith reporting.
Each person in each department also should be educated and trained in the specific areas applicable to that department. All new employees should receive initial training regarding the compliance program and specific job-related compliance training as soon as possible after their date of hire.

Better Training Documentation Is Key

All internal and external education and training updates for all staff members should be required at least annually. These updates include making changes or updates to your compliance program, holding job-specific seminars, attending Medicare and Medicaid insurance update conferences, etc. It’s best practice to keep a record of when training takes place and a list of attendees.
You probably keep compliance training documentation on Excel spread sheets. This year, AAPC has a better solution for you: 7Atlis compliance solution software (See “The Only Compliance Management Software You’ll Ever Need” sidebar on the next page for more information).

Get Help with Training and Education

AAPC’s 7Atlis builds your foundation for training by adding all employees and linking them into key departments to help determine what training and education is required for each employee. 7Atlis then allows the core user to manage each employee’s compliance with his or her training and education requirements, so you will know when to upload training certificates and send reminders to the employee when they are due for upcoming training. It also provides deadlines for when training needs to be completed.
All training and education is based off of best practices and federal guidelines for compliance. Each module consists of interactive education that keeps staff members engaged in the learning process. Upon completion of each education module, the employee is prompted to take a quiz. Instant results are sent to the core user to be kept in the employee’s file.
Per OIG compliance guidelines, all training material should take into account the skills, knowledge, and experience of the individual — 7Atlis follows this guidance precisely.
You can keep records of each individual’s attendance at all training and education seminars, containing the outline and/or content of training. During annual audits these training records should be reviewed to insure training requirements have been met. 7Atlis allows the core user to pull up a snapshot file of training and education that will tell you in one glance who is non-compliant and who needs follow up.

Stay Compliant and Educated

There are constant changes to federal regulations, and many practices get caught up in their daily operations and forget about the compliance component of their business. Don’t let the government knocking on your door be a shocking reminder. Find out what it’s like to be confident about compliance; register for a free demo of 7Atlis today.
Michelle Ann Richards, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CPPM, has 20 years of practice management experience and holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration. She has been an auditing and compliance consultant for AAPC since 2008 and is compliance manager, AAPC Compliance Division. Richards teaches the CPPM® boot camp and is a member of the Elyria, Ohio, local chapter. You can reach her at michelle.richards@aapc.com.

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Renee Dustman, BS, AAPC MACRA Proficient, is managing editor - content & editorial at AAPC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communications - Journalism. Renee has more than 30 years' experience in journalistic reporting, print production, graphic design, and content management. Follow her on Twitter @dustman_aapc.

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