Compliance officers get stressed,
America’s hospital compliance departments are staffed by stressed-out professionals who often jerk awake at night from the anxiety of monitoring all of their employers’ problems and potential problems. And it turns out they’re tired of it.
A survey of compliance officials conducted last October and November, and released this month, found that 58% reported waking up frequently at night and worrying about “job-related stress.” An almost equal number, 60%, reported having considered leaving their jobs in the past year because of the anxiety, according to the survey from the Health Care Compliance Association.
Roy Snell, the CEO of the HCCA in Minneapolis, said it makes sense when considered in the larger context.
Compliance departments were literally created as places to handle the problems that no one else previously wanted to take on, such as determining whether an employee or an executive has broken the law, and what to do about it, in an era when regulators are becoming more punitive than ever before, he says.
“I happen to believe that this is one of the biggest crises in the industry at the moment,” Snell says. “I defy someone to tell me differently: Healthcare is the most fined industry in the history of the Earth.”
The history of the Earth? Hmmm. Outliers would wonder whether some NFL teams, let alone the tour buses of Lil’ Wayne or the Rolling Stones, could compete, at least on a per-capita basis for the title of Most Fined.
But we have yet to see the stats.
Now that’s sticker shock
Imagine the surprise of one New York resident who opened a hospital bill and saw he was being charged $44.8 million for a three-week hospital stay to treat pneumonia.
Alexis Rodriguez told the New York Daily News that he called the Bronx-lebanon Hospital Center’s billing firm and discovered that the invoice number had been entered into the ‘amount due’ field. “I almost had an asthma attack,” Rodriguez reportedly said. Rodriguez’s bill was not the only one with a mistake. The Daily News reported that calls to the billing company are answered with a recording telling people to disregard billing statements for services provided at the Bronx hospital.
Some broken hearts land you in the hospital
A person really can die of a broken heart, or at least the risk of a heart attack increases by roughly 21 times within 24 hours for a person who loses a loved one.
A study found that a person’s risk of heart attack remains elevated for at least a month after losing a loved one although the risk slowly declines as time passes. The study, which was published this month in Circulation, was conducted by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
“Some people would say a ‘broken heart’ related to the grief response is what leads to these physiologic changes,” Dr. Murray Mittleman, a physician at Beth Israel Deaconess’ Cardiovascular Institute and the study’s senior author, said in a news release.
The researchers also noted that social support for someone during a grieving period may mitigate the risk of a heart attack.
“Might as well eat that cookie.”
—Food Network star chef Paula Deen’s “six-word memoir” in a feature in the February issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. Deen, who
is known for her butter-soaked and indulgent recipes, last week announced she had a multimillion-dollar deal to promote a diabetes treatment from Novo Nordisk as she revealed she was diagnosed
with type 2 diabetes in 2008. “She need not stop cooking, but she should probably eat that way only rarely. Her recipes often fall into the category of once-a-month cooking. ... The woman has a deep-fat fryer in her kitchen. That’s a red flag if there ever was one.” —Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City,
on Abcnews.com about Paula Deen.
The stress of their jobs seems to be getting to compliance officers at hospitals, with 60% saying they’ve considered leaving their posts in the past year because of anxiety.