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Health Care Compliance

Most health care organizations have been using a hotline vendor for many years. Anyone with the same hotline vendor for more than five years may wish to re-evaluate the agreement and services. Over time, advanced technology and enhanced methodologies have improved the service and reduced costs. There is also a lot more competition out there that provides variations of services and fees. This is good information for negotiating a better deal. Many may find better services cost of their current vendor.  Also, should of any ongoing monitoring and auditing of the hotline program, as is called force of Inspector General (OIG) in its various compliance guidance documents.

The problem for many is determining what factors should be considered in reviewing the service and performance currently being provided by a vendor. The following are issues that can be used in making such an evaluation. [1]

  1. Re-examine the current contract for terms, rates, and conditions. This is the very first thing any organization should do when considering the merits of the terms, fees, and conditions under which a hotline service is provided. Times have changed, competition has increased, and technology has advanced. Is that reflected in your current agreement?
  2. Compare the fees and cost levels for the services provided with what others are charging for the same level of service. A good rule of thumb is that the cost of a hotline service should be no more than $1-2 per employee per year.
  3. Perform quality control test calls to your hotline.  It is advisable as part of ongoing monitoring to call your own hotline to test how well they debrief you, and then evaluate the timeliness and quality of the resulting report. This should be done periodically (quarterly is the best practice for most).

[1]Information drawn in part by permission of the author from the “Ultimate Hotline Manual: Tool Kit and Practical Guide for Establishing and Managing a Hotline Operation” (ISBN: 0-9763344-0-2).

Editors Note: This article was published in the May/June 2014 edition of the Journal of Health Care Compliance.
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