Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer Health Care

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  • 1.  Gift Acceptance

    Posted 10 days ago
    An interesting question came up regarding accepting gifts.  Employee works in a health care facility.  A friend of the employee works for a vendor and invited them to an all expenses paid weekend conference.  I don't feel who invited the employee is relevant since the vendor is paying all expenses and I feel the offer should be declined. Conference is mostly entertainment versus educational.  Any thoughts are appreciated.


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    Linda Rousseau
    Chf Compliance/Privacy Ofcr/Dir/HIM
    Milford Regional Medical Center
    Milford,MA
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  • 2.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 10 days ago

    Do you have a policy/procedure?  Our compliance program states, in part (de-sanitized):

     

    BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS: BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS WITH VENDORS, CONTRACTORS AND OTHER THIRD PARTIES SHALL BE TRANSACTED FREE FROM OFFERS OR SOLICITATION OF GIFTS AND FAVORS OR OTHER IMPROPER INDUCEMENTS IN EXCHANGE FOR INFLUENCE OR ASSISTANCE IN A TRANSACTION.

     

    The Standards set forth below are intended to guide key employees in determining the appropriateness of the listed activities or behaviors within the context of Hospital business relationships, including relationships with vendors, providers, contractors, third party payors and government entities.  It is the intent of Hospital that this policy be construed broadly to avoid even the appearance of improper activity.  If there is any doubt or concern about whether specific conduct or activities are ethical or otherwise appropriate, you should contact your supervisor, Hospital's legal counsel, or the Corporate Compliance & Privacy Officer.

     

    Gifts and Gratuities.  It is Hospital's desire to at all times preserve and protect its reputation and to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Consequently, the following standards shall be followed.

     

    (a)  Gifts from Patients or Families.  Employees are prohibited from soliciting or accepting tips, personal gratuities or gifts from patients or their families.  If an employee is offered a gratuity or other gift, the employee may direct patients and their families to Hospital's Foundation Office to make a charitable donation to the System.

     

    (b)  Gifts Influencing Decision-Making.  Employees shall not accept gifts, favors, services, entertainment or other things of value to the extent that decision-making or actions affecting Hospital might be influenced.  Similarly, the offer or giving of money, services or other things of value with the expectation of influencing the judgment or decision-making process of any purchaser, supplier, customer, government official or other person by Hospital is absolutely prohibited.  Any such conduct must be reported immediately either to a supervisor, Hospital's legal counsel, or the Corporate Compliance & Privacy Officer.

     

    (c)  Gifts From Existing Vendors.  Employees may accept and retain gifts from vendors which have a nominal value.  Hospital has made no attempt to define "nominal" as a specific dollar value.  Rather, Hospital expects its employees to exercise good judgment and discretion in accepting gifts.  If an employee has any concern whether a gift should be accepted, the employee should consult with his/her supervisor.  To the extent possible, these gifts should be shared with the employees' co-workers.  Employees shall not accept excessive gifts, meals, expensive entertainment or other offers of goods or services which have more than a nominal value nor may they solicit gifts from vendors, suppliers, contractors or other persons.

     

    (d)  Vendor Sponsored Entertainment.  At a vendor's invitation, an individual may accept meals or refreshments of a reasonable value at the vendor's expense.  Occasional attendance at a local theater or sporting event, or similar entertainment of reasonable value at vendor expense, may also be accepted, provided that a regular business representative of the vendor is in attendance with the employee.

     

    Workshops, seminars and training sessions.  Attendance at local, vendor-sponsored workshops, seminars and training sessions is permitted.  Attendance, at vendor expense, at out of town seminars, workshops and training sessions is permitted only with the approval of the President and CEO.

     

     

    Thank you!

     

    Cinda

     

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  • 3.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 10 days ago

    Hi Linda,

     

    This would likely be denied by the committee that reviews this type of request for our organization.   The entertainment value outweighs the educational value, which is a big deal during our review.  I agree that the fact that the friend works for the vendor would not be relevant, only that it is a vendor-paid weekend conference. 

     

    Curious about how others see this, we are beginning to see the conference requests pick up after not having many for the last two and a half years.

     

    Brenda

     




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  • 4.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 9 days ago
    I don't think we have enough facts to make a decision. I'm not a COI expert, but my understanding is that the idea behind not accepting gifts from vendors is that it can create a conflict of interest / present an anti-kickback situation. In my opinion the key driver here is with respect to who this vendor is. Is this a vendor that your organization presently does business with? Or is this a vendor that would like to do business with your organization in the future? If the answer to either of those questions is "yes" then I believe there is a potential conflict.

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    Brenda Manning JD, CHC, CHPC
    Privacy Counsel
    Maximus, Inc.

    The views expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of my employer. They are not meant to constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.
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  • 5.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 9 days ago
    Our organization's policies would prohibit accepting this invite as we err on the side of caution and do not allow the acceptance of any gift or item of value to prevent even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    That is an interesting question, and I love that your employee felt comfortable enough to bring this up.

    Thank you for opening the discussion!

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    Kelly Cooper
    Compliance Specialist
    Univ of Florida Health
    Gainesville,FL
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  • 6.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 9 days ago
    I have read a lot of guidance on this topic and the company I work for has decided not to implement a formal policy on this but, the CEO, myself, and Financial Officer have agreed that the gift should not be accepted if there is potential that it could influence current or future business purchases. I am attaching two documents that have some really good guidance on this topic. Hope this helps.

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    Kaitlin Ketring
    Executive Assistant & Compliance Officer
    Bone & Joint
    Wausau,WI
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  • 7.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 9 days ago

    Thank you for sharing, Kaitlin!


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  • 8.  RE: Gift Acceptance

    Posted 9 days ago

    Thank you Kaitlin!

     

    Cinda

     

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