Anonymous Compliance Hotline Reports – Friend or Foe?
In the compliance world, anonymous tip lines are touted as a simple and effective method to ensure that providers receive pertinent information about wrongdoing within their offices. Compliance professionals, however, have divided opinions about the trustworthiness of anonymous compliance hotline reports. An argument in favor of an anonymous reporting option is that it provides an avenue for employees who fear retaliation. A criticism is that anonymous reports may be inaccurate or frivolous. Recent reports shed light on this interesting issue.
The Compliance Report Numbers
According to a 2014 Helpline Calls and Incident Reports survey conducted by the Society of Compliance and Ethics, 39% of compliance professionals reported that anonymous reports were substantiated at the same rate as named reports. Nine percent of respondents found that anonymous reports were substantiated more often than named reports. However, another 35% reported that they were substantiated less often than named reports. The 2015 Hotline Benchmark Report by NAVEX Global adds some clarity to these somewhat contradictory results. According to its data, anonymous reports were substantiated 36% of the time, or 9% less than reports from named individuals. The NAVEX report notes that the gap in substantiation between anonymous and named reports has actually remained at 9% during the last four years. It further goes on to suggest that the gap may be due to an investigator’s inability to follow-up anonymous reports.
An anonymous reporting option is a valuable tool available through ComplianceHotline and will enhance a provider’s compliance program. These reports may be substantiated at a slightly lower rate than named reports. Still, this is not necessarily due to nonsensical reports. Furthermore, capturing issues through both named and anonymous reports ensures that a provider is aware of all issues and may help to keep lawsuits at bay. Call Exclusion Screening, LLC today to enhance your compliance program with our ComplianceHotline solution at 1(800) 294-0952.
Ashley Hudson, Associate Attorney at Liles Parker, LLP and former Chief Operating Officer for Exclusion Screening, LLC, is the author of this article.