Asante unveils new, reader-friendly Code of Conduct
A code of conduct is an essential element of an effective compliance program. It should serve as a guidebook for ethical behavior and a resource to navigate a complex and heavily regulated work environment. However, for some organizations, a code of conduct is not accessible or user-friendly; it’s that document gathering dust on a shelf or stuffed inside a file cabinet, to be retrieved only when someone needs to be reminded of the rules.
Asante Compliance wanted to try something different with its new Code of Conduct, which rolls out this month. The document — a booklet, really — doesn’t replace Asante’s employee handbook or its various policies that cover the same ground. It does, however, offer guidance on behavioral standards in a way that’s easy to understand. In fact, the document itself was created through a systemwide collaborative effort that included gathering and implementing feedback on the content from all leaders and formal approval by the Asante Board. This team effort approach resulted in a document that will be useful for all.
Over 28 pages, the booklet covers everything from patient, workplace, business and government relations to professionalism, accountability and incident reporting.
“We wanted a user-friendly document we could post and give to employees and leaders to use as a tool,” said Kristen Roy, vice president and legal counsel.
Sections are accompanied by practical examples of behavioral expectations. In one, a fictional employee asks if it’s OK to ask a patient’s family members to speak English. The answer, of course, is no, but the section goes on to explain why and what resources are available for employees in those circumstances.
Other scenarios involve whether an employee can waive copays for patients struggling financially; if it’s OK to check on a friend’s medical record out of concern; what to do if co-workers are flirting; whether it’s OK to take home office supplies for personal use, and so on.
The Code of Conduct offers detailed information on how to report an incident, including through a new anonymous Compliance Hotline, (866) 340-7788, operated 24/7 by a third party to ensure absolute confidentiality. Employees may also report issues through the compliance incident reporting portal located on the Compliance Department website on myAsanteNET.
The hope is that employees not only will better understand Asante’s ethical and behavioral standards, but they’ll feel more comfortable reporting actions that breach those standards.
“People fear retaliation,” said Andrea TenBrink, director of compliance and privacy officer. “We have policies against that, but it’s a natural fear. This is the reason that an anonymous method of reporting is an essential element of an effective Compliance Program. Employees need to feel certain they have a way to bring concerns forward to ensure that items can be reviewed and addressed if needed.”