How proper handling of an investigator saves your income – Part 3

Healthcare providers work hard to earn a living practicing medicine.  In this multi-part series, we are discussing the need for an active compliance program in order to avoid large, unnecessary fines and payouts.  

Your staff should understand what to do if an investigator appears in the office or at their home. Proper handling of an investigator who is investigation a compliance issue can save you paying unnecessary money for attorney fees and potential fines and penalties.  If your staff fails to handle the investigator properly, you will end up spending your hard earned income paying attorney fees and penalties for not handling the investigator properly.  

Find out how to update your compliance program in this multi-part series.  (To get this multi-part series delivered to your inbox CLICK HERE)

No one wants a compliance problem.  So why do we want to train our staff on how to handle one?  For the same reason that an airline steward always informs you at the start of every flight what to do in case of an emergency.  Is the steward explaining the procedure regarding a loss of cabin pressure because he/she wants you to think about the flight crashing before each take off?  No.  Instead the steward wants the emergency procedures to be so ingrained in your head that if there ever is a problem you know what to do without even thinking about it.  The same is true for training staff to handle a compliance problem.  You want everyone to know what to do immediately if something happens.

What should your staff know if an investigator shows up at the practice?

  1. Be polite
  2. Ask for their business card.
  3. Ask them politely to take a seat preferably in a private office (not in the patient waiting area) so you can contact the appropriate person.  The office should not have any business or patient information in the office where the investigator will wait.
  4. Call the compliance officer immediately.
  5. If the compliance officer is not available, call the next person in charge.
  6. Contact your healthcare lawyer to determine if you need a lawyer on site.
  7. Do not have the investigator wait too long.

There are always exceptions to these rules.  Obviously, if the agents on site are executing a search warrant, you should contact your compliance officer and lawyer immediately and follow the agent’s instructions.

But usually the investigator merely has some questions regarding the practice.  Having your staff understand what to do, can save a lot of time and money trying to determine what happened when the investigator was there if the proper people for the practice are not involved.  

In our next blog post, we will continue this series on How Compliance Saves Your Income.  To get this income saving series delivered directly to your mail box, 

Do you need help training your staff on how to handle a compliance issue?  We can help. To contact us about your compliance plan or your other legal needs:  CLICK HERE.

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