Corporate Compliance

Tip: Compliance training for board members

Compliance Monitor, May 23, 2007

Corporate directors shoulder more responsibility for their organization's regulatory compliance than ever before. Although corporate compliance cannot occur without everyone's participation, the job of ensuring that an effective compliance program falls on the governing board and upper management.

Help your facility's board members stay current with the following compliance regulations to protect your organization against liability:

1. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). SOX gives audit committees and independent directors new responsibilities for corporate governance and oversight. Although SOX only applies to publicly-traded companies, some provisions could be a pplied to privately owned and nonprofit healthcare organizations in the future. Pay special attention to these provisions: 201, 202, 301, 302, 303, 406, 407, 802.

2. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The sentencing guidelines became advisory in January, 2005. However, board members should continue to take the guidelines seriously. Compliance experts predict judges will continue to follow the guidelines, although they are no longer mandated to do so.

3. Guidance from the OIG and American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). The OIG and AHLA have developed guidelines that directors can use to demonstrate that they have followed a reasonable compliance-oversight process. The following is a summary of appropriate questions board members should periodically ask their compliance officer:

  • Who is in charge of the program?
  • How does the organization's reporting system work?
  • What are the goals of the compliance program?


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