Providing good healthcare services requires a good coordination among a number of people and organization that work together to maintain the quality as well as compliance in the services. No healthcare organization can work alone, be it a hospital, clinic, long-term care company or a dental practice, and it has to rely on vendors or third parties for its functioning. However for every healthcare organization, it is important to know and monitor the company it is partnering or working with to ensure that compliance and quality are being maintained. With time the federal and state regulations are growing more and more complex which is also increasing the risk of regulatory violations. This calls for a heightened need of ensuring vendor compliance for healthcare organizations.
Know Your Vendors
Vendor procurement is usually done by an entirely separate department in most of the healthcare organizations. There is vendor management software that automates the onboarding, management and tracking of vendors but most of such software aren’t very specific about the healthcare requirements and fail to keep up with the increasing regulatory requirements for knowing your vendor. This software do contain information about the vendors but many a time there are anomalies like duplicate entries, partial information etc. It’s important to make sure that you have full information about your vendors and the information is up-to-date and accurate. For this, organizations need to streamline their vendor data to meet regulatory guidelines.
Ensure You Have Qualified Vendors
Once you have full and accurate information about your vendor, the next step is to determine if they are qualified for their business. Your vendor must be legally authorized to conduct the business and must be properly registered and compliant with the regulations. A company (your vendor) also acquires a Certificate of Good Standing from the authorities on demonstrating compliance with required filings like Tax Certificates, Annual Reports, and registration. It’s important to obtain such information about a company from various sources to ensure that you are working with qualified vendors.
Monitor Your Vendors
After conducting due diligence on the vendor and partnering with it officially you need to monitor your vendor regularly. Include in your best practices the monitoring of OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities every month. It is also advised to check SAM.gov site and the available state Medicaid exclusion lists on a regular basis to ensure that your vendor is not debarred or excluded.
Monitor Vendor’s Employees
Monitoring the employees that your vendors send to or place in your organization is also a good practice. You can include such employees in your OIG exclusion monitoring program. You should also obtain a contractual commitment from vendors which states that the vendors will not send or place any excluded individual in your healthcare organizations. Apart from this, it’s also recommended to conduct random audits to make sure that the vendor is maintaining compliance with your requirements.
Update Your Procedures and Technology
It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of your procedures regularly. Update your technology to unify all the vendor related procedures in your healthcare enterprise in a common framework. The technology used must be capable of managing information, risk, audit, compliance, performance and problem solving for vendors. Such updated and advanced technology can help healthcare organizations greatly in collaborating with vendors to provide quality and compliant care. Technology can also be used to detect non-compliance at an early stage and find immediate remedies to avoid major damages.