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OIG Releases a New Resource Guide on Corporate Responsibility and Health Care Quality: The American Health Lawyers Association Co-sponsors New Guide

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Ensuring the quality of care provided by health care organizations has never been more critical. While consumers are demanding greater transparency and information about the care they receive, Medicare and other payors are increasingly linking payment to the quality of care. Health care providers strive to deliver the highest quality care possible to their patients. Health care quality also is emerging as an enforcement priority for health care regulators. For these and other reasons, it is essential for health care boards of directors to understand their important role in overseeing the quality of care provided by their organizations.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), released today a resource guide on quality of care entitled “Corporate Responsibility and Health Care Quality: A Resource for Health Care Boards of Directors.”

As part of Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson’s quality-of-care initiative, this resource guide seeks to assist directors of health care organizations in carrying out their important oversight responsibilities in the current challenging health care environment. It is the third in a series of documents on corporate responsibility co-sponsored by OIG and the AHLA.

“Oversight of quality is a core fiduciary responsibility of health care organization directors and is a top priority of OIG,” said Inspector General Levinson. “We worked closely with the AHLA to produce this tool to assist Board members in carrying out this critical charge.”

The resource guide is designed to help health care organization boards ask appropriate questions related to health care quality requirements, measurement tools, and reporting requirements. Compliance with standards and regulations applicable to the quality of services delivered by health care organizations is essential for the lawful behavior and corporate success of these organizations. OIG and AHLA intend for this guide to be useful to health care organization directors in exercising their oversight responsibilities and in supporting their ongoing efforts to promote effective corporate compliance as it relates to health care quality.

As part of its efforts to promote the involvement of boards in the care delivered in their institutions, OIG also will be hosting a series of roundtable discussions with industry leaders. The first of these meetings will focus on the boards’ role in overseeing the quality of care provided in long-term care institutions. The roundtable, currently scheduled for December 2007, will be co-sponsored by the Health Care Compliance Association.

To read this document in full, go to www.oig.hhs.gov.