Written By: Lynda Jennings, OTR, RAC-CT, CDP
As long as I have been a therapist, I have prided myself on my reputation for providing exceptional clinical care while always making sure I am aware of the most current regulations and guidance in my specialty area. This has served me well in my various roles as both a clinician and a manager. Compliance and ethics have always been part of my responsibility but, none more than that in my current role as Vice President of Clinical Services and Compliance for The Village at Incarnate Word. The Village is a Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC) providing services to independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing home residents. As a CCRC, we are regulated by various regulatory bodies and must adhere to such guidance. For my therapy friends, on top of the facility regulations, we must also adhere to our discipline-specific state practice acts, billable guidelines, and licensure rules and regulations. How is one expected to stay current?
One resource is familiarizing yourself with your employer’s Code of Conduct. A Code of Conduct is just one tool designed to help ensure organizational integrity. Its purpose is to serve as a guide in performing your job according to the highest ethical and professional standards and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. My other suggestion is to develop a personal code of conduct. A personal code of conduct is a personal set of rules to live by rooted in industry standards and regulations. A personal code of conduct also reflects personal core values and standards.
Also, I am a big proponent of being an active member of your state and national professional associations. They have a wealth of information that your can reference and they have a staff whose job is to stay current with all the ever-changing guidance. In fact, in October of 2014 AOTA, APTA and ASHA came together to draft a Consensus Statement on Clinical Judgement in Healthcare Settings. This document provided guidance on Ethical Service Delivery, Rules and Regulations, Evaluation and Treatment, Documentation, Clinical Integrity, and Steps to take action if there is a problem. The consensus statement also highlights the therapy professional’s personal responsibility in being knowledgeable about payer guidelines, appropriate coding, documentation requirements, and supervision guidelines.
Want to learn more about Healthcare Ethics?
Check out my upcoming live webinar on Wednesday, August 24th, 6 – 8pm EST,
Ethics for the SNF Therapy Professional – A Resource Guide for doing the right thing.
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