Complying with all the regulations in healthcare isn’t just daunting, at times it can seem impossible. There are federal and state entities all providing mandates, some are duplicitous, some are contradictory. Regardless, healthcare managers and executives are required to comply. With the ever-changing landscape it can be hard to keep up. Not to mention that the age-old excuse “I didn’t know” is not acceptable for most of these regulations. In fact, that excuse is generally met with the response, “well you should have known”.
To help you navigate these muddy waters, I’ve prepared a list of resources to help you on your compliance journey. I highly recommend that you save these as bookmarks and refer to them often, policies change.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) – This seems like a no-brainer; however, I’ve found that many only navigate to CMS for the fee schedule. There are many other resources on here, including fact sheets, program/payment FAQs, national level and state level statistics, and more. The search bar is most likely the best way for you to navigate this massive site. Try it out. Believe it or not CMS asks for comments, provides education, and provides multi-language materials for your office. (cms.gov)
- The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) – If you’re looking for how to comply with Health IT, how to integrate data, and guidance as you transform your healthcare delivery systems, then you need to get familiar with the ONC. Benefits include regulatory guidance, actual case studies, terms/definitions and more. This site is easy to navigate, make sure to subscribe to their blog while you’re on there. It’s worth the read. (healthit.gov)
- The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPac) – MedPac is an independent organization that was created to advise Congress on Medicare’s payment policies, potential impacts of future policies, and historical outcomes. A lot of data exists on this site, so unless reading through several hundred pages of federal comments are why you get up in the morning, you will most likely navigate here for MedPac’s Report to Congress. Look out for these reports to be issued in March and June of each year. (medpac.gov)
- U. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) – In addition to your state’s HHS Department, you will want to be familiar with federal HHS regulations. Like CMS, this is a site where you will want to use the search bar for easier navigation. HHS’ site includes everyting from HIPAA compliance to federal grant opportunities. Additionally, this nifty search bar will pull up results from the ONC and the National Institute of Health as well. (www.hhs.gov)
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – This is a great resource for emergency preparedness and patient education. Like the ONC, this site is easy to navigate but the search bar is helpful. The CDC posts national data on illness tracking, prevention techniques, fact sheets, and statistical data. The CDC also funds research and provides healthy living guidance. (cdc.gov)
- The Office of Inspector General (OIG) – The OIG is within the department of HHS with a mission to “protect the integrity of HHS programs as well as the health and welfare of program beneficiaries”. For example, did you know you are required to check the names of all employees on the OIG Exclusions Database annually? If you haven’t in the last twelve months, then now is the time. They even have a full provider compliance guidance portal with resource materials on adhering to HHS policies. (oig.hhs.gov)
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – If you are working in the mental or behavioral health space, you should already be familiar with this site. If not, it’s one to check out. SAMHSA can guide you to accredited treatment programs, prevention education, and other resources to support your initiatives. This is also where you file NREPP, the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. (samhsa.gov)
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – The goal of the AHRQ is to support healthcare research efforts to improve quality. Whether you need data on program performance, desire to support the opioid initiative, or need funding, this site has you covered. (ahrq.gov)
- Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) – Find data, find HRSA programs, find funding. This is a key site for upcoming funding opportunities and outcome improvement data. This is also a great resource for healthcare scholarships and loan repayments. (hrsa.gov)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The NIH operates to identify and prevent disease. This is primarily through vast amounts of collaboration and research. This site includes patient education, provider education, wellness toolkits, global research data, grants and more. While you’re there, consider subscribing to their News in Health newsletter for practical health and wellness news. (nih.gov)
In the era of “should have known”, time spent in these areas will truly save you time, frustration, and money. Familiarize yourself with these ten sites to ensure your practice remains in compliance!