What Your Holiday Shopping Habits Suggest About Your Compliance Planning. (Seriously!)

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Post By: Margaret Scavotto, JD, CHC, President, Management Performance Associates

Do you start shopping for holiday gifts in October?  Or do you frantically drive to the mall the day before Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice, frantically trying to buy presents for everyone on your list and *maybe* getting into a fender bender in the Whole Foods parking lot on the way home?

I’m a planner, and I’m done with my holiday shopping for 2021. I like to know that I have gifts for everyone on my list. I don’t like to worry that the book I really want to get for my dad is sold out at the local bookstore.

My premature holiday shopping mirrors my approach to compliance. I like a 12-month calendar of tasks. I like to see what’s planned monthly, quarterly, and annually. That way I can see what is coming up and know we will be ready.

The training scheduled for April? I can see it now, from back here in December, and know that I need to start asking department heads about real-world examples I can put into the training.

The compliance survey planned for May? I can see that, too. I can also see that February’s Compliance Committee meeting is a great time to brainstorm new survey questions.

And the HIPAA Security Risk Analysis on the calendar for June? There is no way that is sneaking up on me. I see it coming, and know that as it gets closer, I need to make sure everyone who will be working on that project needs to carve out some extra time, or move projects to other personnel.

Compliance brings us enough surprises: HIPAA breaches, government investigations, new regulations, a pandemic… it is easier to tackle ongoing compliance work with a long-term plan.

That’s why I use a 12-month compliance calendar (and why I start holiday shopping in October).

My plan isn’t foolproof though, and I might need to change the plan in the coming weeks. If Uncle Paul makes a surprise holiday visit, I’m going to have to do some last-minute shopping and buy him some stocking stuffers.

And that’s ok. We can plan ahead – AND be willing to change the plan. As any compliance professional knows, this happens all the time.

Good luck on the Whole Foods parking lot.