Southeast Health Transforms Compliance Incident Tracking and Recordkeeping

With a new Chief Compliance Officer implementing an integrated software solution for compliance and risk, this medical center drastically improves incident tracking, reduces contract turn-around time and increases process efficiencies.

At a Glance

For years, Southeast Health, a community health system formerly known as the Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) that serves residents in the Southeastern U.S., relied on a combination of spreadsheets, paper-based records, and SharePoint databases to manage compliance incidents, hotline calls, and audits.

Yet the organization lacked a comprehensive, modern approach to compliance, carving out policies and contracts from the process and managing them in SharePoint. Contract execution, in particular, was often delayed or incomplete, increasing the legal and financial risks to the organization.

In 2017, a newly-appointed compliance officer at Southeast Health sought a single software application that could manage all of the compliance data, reporting, and activities, without requiring a stand-alone contract management or policy solution to replace the organization's manual, paper-heavy approval process.

Southeast Health selected SAI Global's Compliance Risk software solution to serve as both the catalyst for elevating its compliance initiatives, as well as assisting the company enterprise-wide with improving policy and contract management.

By 2018, the healthcare organization completed the implementation of the Contract Management module, immediately realizing enhanced contract accuracy, process efficiencies and improved executive communication.

Background

Southeast Health is a not-for-profit community health system dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of the residents of southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. It employs a staff of more than 2,700, supported by a medical staff of approximately 330 physicians representing virtually every medical specialty. A 420-bed regional referral center, Southeast Health has achieved a reputation for providing exceptional diagnostic, clinical, surgical, and patient care services.

The Challenges

Like many healthcare organizations with limited compliance resources, Southeast Health traditionally utilized spreadsheet files to track and report on compliance activities. But the approach had significant limitations on the organization's ability to meet its obligations and avoid operational risk. 

Moreover, Southeast Health's compliance department focused solely on incident and regulatory issues, managing policies and contracts separately in SharePoint sites that lacked version control, automated approvals, and other features that were much needed. 

Contracts, in particular, were managed through a disjointed and inefficient process. Each document was manually received, then copies were hand-delivered to every person (or their administrative staff) for required signatures. Without an automated system for the workflow, there was no insight into the stage of any contract, commonly resulting in approval delays or assumptions that agreements were fully executed when they were not. As a result, “final” copies of the contracts were often difficult to track down.

The procedure also resulted in accounting challenges because of outdated vendor and supplier contracts that remained in the system for years, leading to inappropriate approvals based on invalid agreements.

Southeast Health sought a comprehensive solution provider to achieve a streamlined process that could keep contracts moving through the review and approval process efficiently, provide updates at each step in the process, and secure final signature quickly.

“Without an automated system for the workflow, there was no insight into the stage of any contract, commonly resulting in approval delays.”

Deborah Reif
Corporate Compliance Officer, Southeast Health

The Results

Since implementing the Contract Management module, Southeast Health has realized significant benefits to its processes that have yielded operational efficiencies and savings.

  • With proper documentation to leverage, Southeast Health has reduced the turnaround time for vendor and supplier contract negotiations from 14-plus days to an average of just three for pre-approval collaboration
  • By eliminating ineffective and expired agreements and adding a workflow step for procurement agreements to upload a P.O., the organization has saved on inappropriate approvals
  • Administrative staff is no longer required to hand-deliver contracts to facilitate approvals, freeing up resources and resulting in a 100% reduction in lost contracts
  • Southeast Health has seen a 20% reduction in hours by moving to an automated process

And Southeast Health expects even more results as it continues to implement additional modules. “I think five years from now, we're going to be pushing any limit that SAI Global's Compliance Risk solution even has, because we know where we want to go, and we're confident the solution has the capacity and capability to get us there,” said Chief Compliance Officer Reif.


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