Highlights from the 2022 HFMA and NEHIA Compliance & Internal Audit Conference – Finding Solutions to Challenges Facing Compliance & Internal Audit Functions

By | March 7, 2023

In 2022, I had the opportunity to attend the joint annual Compliance and Internal Audit Conference put on by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) MA-RI Chapter and the New England Healthcare Internal Auditors (NEHIA) organization. As a professional just starting out in my healthcare IA career, the conference was a great opportunity to hear from speakers on a variety of topics impacting the industry (and the 20 hours of CPEs was a nice perk too!). Below are a few takeaways from the conference.

The world of healthcare regulatory compliance is ever-changing. Healthcare organizations everywhere are facing an array of challenges brought on by recent events and the continued impacts of COVID-19. The 2022 conference brought together many of New England’s premier healthcare organizations to discuss these matters and solutions they have implemented at their own organizations.

One hot topic at the conference was how remote/hybrid working arrangements are changing the field of compliance. It has become increasingly difficult to find employees who are qualified and want to be on-site five days a week. It was also noted that there can be a lack of unity and team building within a remote/hybrid work model which has set some organizations back.

One great solution that was brought up during the “Current Challenges to the Compliance & Internal Audit Officer” panel discussion was for organizations currently using a hybrid model to align the days that team members come on-site at least once a week. There doesn’t have to be a formal reason or meeting that sparks the on-site meetup but ensuring there are face-to-face interactions once a week has paid large dividends for many organizations that were present this year. One compliance leader also noted that on top of building relationships within the compliance team itself, coordinating times to be on-site has also allowed their compliance department to be more visible across their organization, helping them be more effective in their work.

For organizations who have adopted a fully remote working model, an alternative to coordinating on-site meetings is scheduling “un-scheduled time”. Some organizations have implemented scheduling a meeting with no agenda to allow the conversation and topics to flow naturally while other organizations have opted for a weekly open office hours timeslot where anyone can join and chat about whatever they would like. Both of these options allow remote compliance and internal audit teams to create some of the informal interactions they are missing, which in turn results in better interpersonal relationships and provides the opportunity to address topics outside of standard meeting agendas.

A second hot topic at the conference was a collective concern about resource constraints. Many healthcare organizations have reduced the number of employees within not only their Compliance and Internal Audit functions but across all departments, leaving no choice but to find solutions for having fewer people perform the same amount of work. During the “Compliance Program Effectiveness & Healthcare Regulatory Compliance Hot Topics” presentation we heard how Data Analytics can help bridge the resource gap. By committing to using Data Analytics wherever possible, Compliance and Internal Audit functions can shrink the amount of work that needs to be done while managing risk just as effectively, if not more effectively, than before. It is important to note that well-structured and clean data is critical for effective data analytics. Compliance and Internal Audit functions should consult with someone either internal or external to their organization with experience in this area to ensure that their data analytics are effective from the start.


You can view a copy of the presentations from the conference here: https://www.ma-ri-hfma.org/nov-30-dec-2-2022-handouts/

Save the date for next year’s conference!

Wednesday, November 29 – Friday, December 1, 2023

Mystic Marriott, Groton, CT

Submitted By: Kevin Sylvestri, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory Analyst