Profile of a Long Term Care (LTC) Compliance Officer

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By Wendy Maciol, CHC

Based on my experience as a LTC Compliance Officer, I do feel that a few tailored skills are required to serve the role well.   There are typical characteristics that every Compliance Officer should process including but not limited to; having credibility, a listening ear, the ability to collaborate, being a strategic thinker and good investigator.

A LTC Compliance Officer should have familiarity with the LTC regulations, guidelines and day-to-day operations of this unique setting.  It will assist with ongoing auditing and monitoring of some key areas of focus i.e.,  Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement documentation, MDS accuracy, Quality Measure data, bedhold, advance directives, use of anti-psychotic medications, multi-disciplinary documentation and credentialing.

Once we have established trust with the Management staff, it lays the foundation for future relationships.  It is important to be a motivator and foster a culture of communication.  It will make the staff more comfortable contacting us to report potential concerns proactively.  We need to use our listening skills to obtain all the facts and ensure tha
t intelligent, cohesive responses are provided.  If we are unaware of a response and need to consult additional resources, it is crucial that we indicate that  follow-up will be provided within a reasonable amount of time.  We will need to be organized and ensure that all responses are provided.

As a LTC Compliance Officer, we need to be visible.  Whether our pictures and phone number are posted throughout the facility, or we attend periodic management meetings, coordinate Compliance Committee and workgroup meetings or conduct onsite audits or training, it helps in establishing our credibility.  It is important to routinely reinforce that the Compliance Officer is there to help proactively and shouldn’t solely be called upon when a violation exits. Showing an interest in what the staff have to say and being available to meet with them as requested is key.

Staying abreast of the ever changing regulations i.e., e-prescribing, transition of Medicaid Nursing Home residents into Managed Care, LTC regulations etc., can be a challenge however, it will  help us to further sharpen our skills and reinforce the importance of the role of the LTC Compliance Officer.

The passion I possess for my role as a Long Term Care Officer was recently strengthened when I received a call from an individual who stated “I am calling to self-disclose.”  If you could have seen the smile on my face!

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