The Yellow Flag – Being Accountable

By Carissa Podesta, Compliance Officer

A couple of recent therapy compliance incidents caused some Ensign facilities to part ways with good therapists who made poor decisions.

I want everyone to know that these situations could have been avoided had those therapists sought help and support instead of acting in a way that placed their license and position in jeopardy. I personally feel bad that these individuals did not recognize that help and support existed and want to make sure that each of you understands what to do if you are ever in such a situation.

Holding Ourselves Accountable

Our Compliance Manual and Code of Conduct:

  1. Prohibits conduct that violates our policies or the law.
  2. Requires that we report any violations or suspected compliance violations.
  3. Prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports a compliance violation.

These standards are absolute and without exception. So, for example, we cannot violate policies or the law and then claim someone else made us do it. We also cannot fail to report a violation for fear of retaliation.

One of our organization’s Core Values is “Accountability.” We are asked to hold ourselves to the highest standards of care and professionalism. That means something more than just following policies or the law; it means acting ethically and with integrity in all of our actions as employees. Let this guide everything you do.

Our culture is one in which asking questions and challenging one another is encouraged. We will only become better if we make ourselves better. This means questioning the status quo and questioning anything or anyone that impacts our ability to act legally, ethically, with integrity or be accountable. This aligns wonderfully with our compliance responsibilities.

The take away – always report anything suspicious, always act legally, ethically and with integrity, never hesitate to question things and understand that there is never a valid excuse for doing otherwise.

Holding Others Accountable

At the conclusion of the two recent therapy compliance incidents, the therapists involved said they engaged in misconduct because (1) their supervisor told them to do it or (2) their supervisor made an unintelligent comment that was interpreted as a directive to act unethically.

If you believe anyone, even your supervisor, is instructing you to do something wrong, you must hold them accountable. Let’s apply the standards discussed above.

  1. Refuse to act on the request to engage in illegal or unethical conduct.
  2. If you feel comfortable, question or challenge the request. Tell the person why the request is inappropriate and use it as a teaching moment.
  3. If you feel uncomfortable, go to your operation leader, contact your local Therapy Resource or call the Compliance Hotline at 1-866-256-0955 (you may remain anonymous if you prefer).
  4. Be confident in the knowledge that you are doing exactly the right thing and that you are protected from retaliation.

The therapists involved in the recent therapy compliance investigations did none of the above. I truly wish they had understood that they were not alone, had another choice and had the complete support of this organization.

Questions and comments are welcomed. Contact:

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