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Healthcare Human Resources, Is Your House in Order?

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This blog post excerpts an article by Robyne Wilcox, Product Manager, Recruiting & Assessments, HealthStream, in the Q3 2015 issue of PX Advisor, our quarterly magazine designed to bring you thought leadership and best practices for improving the patient experience.

With so much negative press coming out daily about compliance and so many sweeping changes being enacted in the human resources realm, especially in healthcare, there is no better time to make sure that your organization is in order. Compliance in HR generally falls into the following buckets: payroll, benefits, risk & safety, hiring, employee relations, and terminations. Issues related to each of these buckets are in the press every day, including an outcry around nursing shortages; increased union activity; traveling nurses and temporary staffing hitting a 20-year high; federal task force focused on uncovering fraud in the healthcare industry; a recent report citing that 40 percent of hospitals fail on nursing workforce safe practices, and much more. With so much to think about, what do you tackle first? 

Conduct a Compliance Health Check

It is highly recommended that every organization complete a compliance health check. This health check can uncover any areas of weakness that may need to be improved upon and provide a baseline of where your organization is today. It can be conducted through several different methods—i.e., an internally created assessment or checklist, a mock survey, or an audit conducted with third party assistance. Whichever method you choose, this is an important step. Many organizations believe they understand the largest issues and areas of risk but are surprised when a check-up uncovers additional areas of focus that are even more important.

Use Check-Up Results to Guide Your Improvements 

What you do with your results is what makes the difference. Christi Blanchard, RN, MS, PHR, Director of HR Analytics & Effectiveness at Wentworth-Douglass Health System, currently serves as chairperson of her organization’s HR Compliance Committee. This Committee was formed after results from a mock Joint Commission survey conducted almost 10 years ago identified important gaps and areas of improvement for HR compliance. “Wentworth-Douglass recognizes the vital role that HR plays in keeping the organization compliant and fully supported the creation of a cross functional Committee to bring clinical and HR together,” says Blanchard. Many compliance issues affect human resources, so it is important to invite HR to the table early for any discussions. Blanchard’s Compliance Committee meets for 90 minutes every other month to monitor prior issues, evaluate new issues that arise, and ensure that everything is documented and resolved in a timely manner.

This article also includes:

  • Why to prioritize compliance improvement
  • Engaging HR in compliance
  • 5 tips for managing HR risk

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