ComplianceHotline – Best Practices
ComplianceHotline delivers reports to its clients one business day after it receives a call or e-mail from a complainant. What happens after the information is transferred is really up to a provider’s discretion. Best practices include following up with the complainant—if he or she provided contact information—or conducting an internal investigation. Regardless of the approach, it is imperative that the provider investigates a hotline tip in a timely manner. Failure to do so could hurt morale or potentially lead to a whistleblower suit.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly all whistleblowers raised their concerns internally first. Employees typically resorted to qui tam litigation only after it became apparent that mid and upper-level management were merely brushing their concerns aside. Some employees also resorted to whistleblower action for justice or integrity purposes. Others blew the whistle because they anticipated that the issue could negatively impact their careers.
In addition, according to a study conducted by NAVEX Global, the average number of days it takes a company to investigate and solve a case which was brought to light by a complaint has increased steadily over the past four years. The average case closure time in 2014 was 39 days. In comparison to 2010, it was only 32 days. Thirty-nine days is not likely an offensive amount of time to resolve a complaint. However, if an employee gets the sense that management is dragging its feet, or worse, totally ignoring the issue, then the company could be facing a much larger problem.
What This Means
Utilizing a hotline service like ComplianceHotline is an excellent part of an effective compliance plan. The hotline, however, is a portion of the solution and it is critical that providers do not disregard tips they receive through the hotline. Providers should act swiftly and thoroughly to resolve the issue and ensure that their employees understand that the provider fosters compliance.
Ashley Hudson, Associate Attorney at Liles Parker, LLP and former Chief Operating Officer for Exclusion Screening, LLC, is the author of this article. Contact the exclusion experts at Exclusion Screening, LLCSM today for a free consultation by calling 1-800-294-0952 or online.