To be compliant, or not to be compliant, that is the question
For many, a cringing feeling overwhelms them when the word “compliance,” is uttered. However, the word “compliance,” should not be scary to anyone. Merriam-Webster defines “compliance as the act or process of doing what you have been asked or ordered to do.” Even though we may not realize it, as we go about our daily schedule, we are all involved in the compliance process. For example, each morning when we get into our cars to drive to work, we have to make sure we are in compliance with all traffic laws (i.e. driving the speed limit, stopping at red lights, using our turn signals when changing lanes, etc).
Once at work, we as an Agency strive to ensure that we are upholding our mission to combat HIV/AIDS in the community by improving the lives and health of individuals living with the disease, while also preventing its spread. Although it may not look like it, this commitment to our donors, clients, and community is the essence of compliance. In order to keep this commitment, we must build an infrastructure whose foundation is centered on compliance.
As Compliance Officer for the Agency, this can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Although complying with federal and state regulations can be challenging, we must remember the goal of our Agency is to remove barriers and provide our clients with the quality care they deserve. Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of working with staff to develop procedures that implement processes to ensure contract/grant deliverables are met in a timely manner. Also, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with committees to develop and perform internal audits ensuring proper documentation has been obtained for our clients. Compliance is not the task of one individual. To ensure compliance, we must work together to perform ongoing analysis of every area to prevent potential risks to our foundation. The central component to any successful Compliance Program is communication. When we have open lines of communication across the Agency, not only are we ensuring transparency but we are providing a message that will resonant with our donors, clients, and community.
The next time you hear the word “compliance,” do not see it as negative connotation but as something we all strive for every day.
by: John W. Duncan, Compliance Officer