Hospitals must address employee fraud reports with procedural fairness

As the government makes it easier for hospital employees to report fraud and quality issues, and social media gives disgruntled employees an outlet to air dirty laundry, hospitals must work with employees to make them feel comfortable addressing concerns internally, Hospitals & Health Networks reported.

In fact, employees still usually go to employers first with concerns, according to research from the Ethics Resource Center. Eighty-four percent of whistleblowers who reported a compliance problem outside their company first reported the concern to the organization, but moved outside when the employer failed to address the issue, according to research.

Hospitals and healthcare organizations must implement protocols to investigate claims of fraud thoroughly and impartially, H&HN reported, which ultimately encourages employees to keep concerns within the organization. Hospital leaders should also arrange training in procedural fairness when dealing with employee reports. 

To successfully hear and address employees' concerns organizations must provide a procedurally fair process, according to research from Tom R. Tyler, professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School. Companies can do that by giving employees:

  • Voice. Allow employees the opportunity to tell their side of the story in their own words.

  • Neutrality. Decision-makers should eliminate personal opinions from the equation, and base decisions solely on facts and rules. Employees want to see rules and guidelines applied consistently.

  • Respect. Treat employees accordingly when they raise concerns, and make them feel they're being taken seriously.

  • Trust. Create an atmosphere that allows the employee to feel that decision-makers are listening and considering their view point, and that decisions are what will be right for everyone.

The issue is more relevant than ever, as the Department of Veterans Affairs deals with at least 67 claims from whistleblowers who claim leadership retaliated against them when they brought forward quality and fraud issues, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- check out the Center's research (.pdf)
- read Tyler's research