As I am writing this blog post I have just finished “attending” the virtual Compliance Institute which is the annual conference for compliance professionals, advisors, regulators and other governmental officials. After listening and participating in presentations for the last four days I am struck by how much the field of compliance has changed when so much of it has remained rock solid. The goal of a compliance program has always been to detect and deter bad activity, and that goal remains today. All that we do in the field of compliance is directed at ensuring people do the right thing, the right way, at the right time. This goal exists regardless of what is going on in the world around us.
Having said that, the last 12 months have dramatically changed the compliance profession forever. Due to the pandemic, providers were forced to pivot entire business models basically overnight. For example, UCLA Med transitioned 17,000 workers to working from home in just 72 hours. While most providers didn’t have to deal with such a huge number of employees, every organization was forced to alter how they did business. The challenge of health care is far bigger than that of non-health care businesses because health care providers still had people who needed care. It didn’t matter that our world was in the middle of a terrible pandemic, the people you serve still needed services, and the industry truly stepped up to the plate.
Session after session at the Compliance Institute illustrated how creative and resourceful health care providers at all levels of the service spectrum can be when forced to think outside the box. I heard story after story of how providers, large and small, found ways to provide quality care when resources were scarce, when staffing was worse than normal and when the people served needed even more care. The pandemic has brought out the worst in many people; the amount of fraud connected with government issued relief payments is astounding. However, the pandemic also brought out the best in many people, and allowed us to see that we really are capable of so much more than we ever believed.
Thankfully, it appears we are getting closer to the end of the pandemic. With the increasing number of people being vaccinated our world has a great chance of getting back to normal, but our normal will be a new normal. I believe our industry will be better because of COVID. It may take us a few years to gain enough perspective to be able to see those gains, but good providers have survived and have come out stronger on the other end. To every health care employee who reads this blog, you have my gratitude.