When I talk about personal liability in the workplace, sometimes people doubt my warnings are valid. Many laws are written to include penalties for not only the Big Boss leadership (owners), but also individual workers. “Following orders” is no excuse for breaking the law. Sometimes the violation in question may seem a little ambiguous as to whom the guilt really belongs. Then sometimes all I can say is “C’MON MAN!”…
In 2009, Medicare notifies Passages Hospice that they are being audited by Medicare. This is a pretty normal thing to have happen when you are a provider cashing big checks from a government program. So, what does the hospice administrator do? She calls in a couple of other managers and they begin to ‘prepare’ for the audit. Hmm…
Yep, by “prepare” I obviously mean they went in and began doctoring (pun intended) the patient charts. If this wasn’t bad enough, they decided to scheme other ways to rip off the government by providing bonuses to clinical staff who entered patients into general inpatient care – even if the care could not be truthfully justified. (So, what! Who cares? We’re LIARS!!)
I can tell you who cares, Medicare! So, long story short – a few employees who were aware of the schemes decided to blow the whistle! At this point, an investigation was opened up and the administrator decided it was time to fess us! Passages has been found guilty of about $9.5 million worth of schemed up payments. The administrator is personally facing 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Her fellow criminals have not yet entered pleas. But, they are very likely to face similar penalties.
The Moral: Personal Liability in the workplace is real. If you have no morals or no backbone to say NO when presented with the task of committing clear violations of the law, then Kiss Your Babies and Pack a Bag. Oh, and watch an episode or two of Orange is the New Black. It’s on Netflix. Pay particular attention to the character Crazy Eyes. You’re gonna love her!
For the rest of you who will not allow yourselves to knowingly break the law, remember what we learned in 12th grade Government class. “Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse”. Get some help. Have an adviser. Be ready to prove where you get your information and be sure your sources are professional and credible. “My friend Suzanne at another company like this one” is not going to satisfy your auditor or investigator when the question “What made you think this was the right way to do it?” comes up. Check out our Audit-Secure Assistant Program (ASAP). Drop me a line if you are already a user of one of our HelpDesk Compliance Tool-Kits. I can offer you a special upgrade price. We can help you Be Audit-Secure and rest easy knowing you are doing your level best to obey the law at all times.
Until Next Time, Be Audit-Secure!