Corporate Compliance

Prepare for government search warrants

Healthcare Auditing Weekly, December 30, 2003

Federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly using court-ordered search warrants to further health care facility investigations. Health care organizations should prepare for this by developing policies to instruct employees on who to contact and how to respond to government investigators.

Do the following to ensure that your organization responds appropriately to a search warrant:

  • Ensure that your organization has developed and appropriately disseminated a corporate policy for search warrants. The policy should clearly state that if any law enforcement personnel arrive, company lawyers should be notified before the agents are allowed onto the property.
  • Conduct special training classes to explain the law and the company's policy relating to search warrants, service of process on company property, and requests to interview company employees.
  • Ensure that the guard or receptionist at each company facility has the names and phone numbers of the company counsel and at least one alternate contact person.
  • Ensure that each company facility has written instructions in multiple locations for employees to use when accompanying agents during a search. These instructions should be very basic.
  • Mark law department files and, to the extent possible, attorney-client communications as "attorney-client confidential and privileged communications."
  • Identify competent criminal or health care counsel, to be contacted immediately if a search warrant is executed on the property
  • Become familiar with your rights. For example, warrants generally must be served between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Also, an officer taking property under the warrant is required to deliver a copy of the warrant, an inventory, and a receipt for the property taken.

    For more information on how to conduct an internal investigation, order the book "See for Yourself: A Guide to Conducting Internal Investigations and Audits." This book will show you how to conduct your own internal investigations and audits from start to finish. It offers practical advice and real-life examples on how to plan and staff an internal investigation or audit, and provides detailed information on the legal issues involved, such as attorney/client privilege, obstruction of justice, and legal obligation to disclose results. Click here to order.

  • Most Popular