Niurka Adorno-Davies and Scott Intner on the Compliance-General Counsel Relationship [Podcast]


By Adam Turteltaub

At the 2023 HCCA Compliance Institute, which takes place April 23-26 in Anaheim (and in a virtual format  April 24-26), Niurka Adorno-Davies, AVP Compliance, Molina Healthcare, and Scott Intner, Chief Compliance Officer, GW Medical Faculty Associates, will be leading the session “Swimming with Sharks: A Compliance Officer’s Guide on Working with Legal Counsel.”

Their session, and this podcast, will examine some of the friction points in the Compliance-GC relationship and how to make things go smoother.

There are a number of causes of stress in the relationship, they explain. A GC controlling access to the board and senior leadership is one of them. Having legal as the gate keeper can be detrimental to the relationship and the effectiveness of the compliance program.  Another cause for stress is overlapping responsibilities. If legal and compliance are unsure where one ends and the other begins, the lack of clarity can lead to turf battles or issues falling between the cracks.

To make the relationship a positive one they recommend beginning with respect for each other’s role. Second, compliance should be sure to give legal a seat at the table as soon as a potential issue is identified. Having them as a part of the team early can yield multiple benefits. Also, don’t overstep your role and start giving legal advice. That’s for them to do.

To protect privilege, be prudent when confronted an issue that may lead to litigation or a settlement conversation with the government. Bring in the GC’s office, or if your organization doesn’t have one, reach out to outside counsel.

Outside counsel may also be helpful if the investigation is likely to involve senior leadership or delves into an area of specialized expertise that in-house counsel lacks.

Finally, be sure to share information both ways, understand each other’s roles and embrace a commitment to respect.

Listen in, and be sure to check out their session at the Compliance Institute.