The mission of Baptist Health is to improve the health and well-being of individuals, and to promote the sanctity and preservation of life in the communities we serve. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of clinical and service excellence with the utmost integrity and moral practice. All activities carried out on behalf of Baptist Health by its employees or contractors will be in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and conducted according to the highest ethical and moral standards.
People — Our greatest asset: our employees, our physicians, Board members and volunteers.
Compassion — For those we serve.
Excellence — In all we do: customer service, patient care, relationships and organizational performance.
Integrity and Transparency — In all our actions and decisions.
Belief — In our faith-based heritage and mission.
Stewardship — To manage resources prudently and ethically to ensure the future ability to fulfill our mission.
Baptist Health’s Code of Ethics is a key part of the Corporate Compliance Program. It reflects the core values and principles that guide Baptist Health operations. The purpose and objective of the Code is to:
- Establish a code of ethical standards to be followed by all employees;
- Communicate to all employees and contractors the standards they are expected to follow;
- Communicate to stakeholders the ethical standards we have adopted;
- Communicate methods of reporting issues and concerns in order to prevent, detect and correct activities that are not consistent with the ethical standards Baptist Health has adopted; and
- Document Baptist Health’s commitment to the highest professional standards.
The Code is the cornerstone of our anti-fraud initiatives, designed to prevent and identify potential occurrences of unethical activities such as theft or fraud.
Baptist Health’s Code of Ethics must be followed by all Baptist Health employees, medical staff members and contractors. No one, no matter what his or her employment position, is exempt from the standards established by the Code. Failure to comply is a serious matter that may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination. In addition, employees who violate a specific law may be subject to legal prosecution
We also expect our vendors to follow the highest ethical standards and to report any suspected violation of the Code. The reporting mechanisms available to our employees are also available to our vendors.
- The Code of Ethics is available on the Intranet — just click on Corporate Compliance. On the Internet, click on About Us.
- The Code must be followed by all employees, medical staff members and contractors.
- BHSF Policy 819 Code of Ethics.
All Employees, Medical Staff Members and Contractors
All employees, medical staff members and contractors are required to be familiar with and follow the standards set forth in the Code of Ethics. On an annual basis, you should review the Code of Ethics and complete annual compliance training. If you are an employee, you must acknowledge that you have received a copy of the Code at your annual performance review. You must also attest that you are aware of the principles it contains and your responsibility to report anything that may violate those principles.
Special Responsibilities of Leaders
With leadership comes additional responsibility. While all employees are expected to follow our Code of Ethics, a leader sets the example for employees to follow. In addition, leaders should create an environment that encourages discussion of our ethical standards and values. As a leader, make sure that:
- Your conduct is consistent with the highest ethical and legal standards.
- Your employees are aware of our ethical standards.
- Your employees are aware of the laws, rules, regulations and policies that apply to their jobs.
- Your employees are aware of their obligation to report suspected violations of our standards.
- You create a work environment that is open and receptive to discussion and reports of possible ethical violations.
- You take the appropriate action when a potential violation is reported to you.
- You prohibit retaliation against anyone who reports a potential violation to you.
Baptist Health employees are encouraged to report and discuss ethical and legal issues that arise as they perform their job functions. You are required to report any suspected violations of the Code of Ethics. We will not tolerate any form of retaliation against any person who reports a suspected violation of our Code of Ethics. Failure to report a potential violation may lead to disciplinary actions, up to and including termination.
Baptist Health’s Code of Ethics is designed to promote honesty and fairness in all our interactions. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your associations with patients and the community are honest and that you follow the Code and all Baptist Health standards and procedures. Our reputation depends upon you doing your part to report any questionable ethical actions or violations you suspect. You are expected to report anything that may be illegal or unethical, so it can be remedied and violators can be disciplined.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a specific situation violates our Code of Ethics. Of course, if there is any doubt, you should discuss the situation with your supervisor or one of the compliance contacts listed on pages 7 and 8.
Talk to your supervisor about your concerns. Your supervisor is in a good position to listen to you and understand the concerns you have. Give your supervisor an opportunity to resolve the issue.
If you have raised an issue and you do not think it is getting proper attention or if your supervisor cannot find the appropriate answer, you may relate your concerns to the next management level. All leaders throughout Baptist Health have a responsibility to listen to your concerns and take the appropriate actions to resolve them.
If your supervisor or next-level manager is unable to resolve the issue satisfactorily, or you are not comfortable talking to them, contact any of the following until the issue is resolved to your satisfaction: the Audit and Compliance Department, the Legal Department, Human Resources, a Compliance Liaison, any vice president or any chief executive officer.
Contact numbers are listed below and on page 8. Remember, retaliation is strictly forbidden.
- Are your actions in compliance with laws, regulations, policies and the Code of Ethics?
- How would the issue appear to someone outside Baptist Health?
- How would your family and friends view the situation?
The Audit and Compliance Department administers the Corporate Compliance Program. The staff is available to you to answer questions and provide advice. In addition, the department maintains a Web page on the Intranet. Just click on Corporate Compliance on the home page. The website contains valuable information regarding our Corporate Compliance Program, our policies and procedures, and contacts available to you.
- Our Value — Integrity and transparency.
- Your Responsibility — Follow the Code, report suspected wrongdoing, encourage communication.
- Retaliation against anyone who reports a suspected violation is strictly prohibited.
- BHSF Policy 822 Nonretaliation for Reporting Potential or Actual Violations of the Code of Ethics.
Bethesda Internal Audit/Compliance Officer..........561-737-7733, Ext. 84885
Boca Raton Regional Hospital..........561-955-3553
HIPAA Privacy Hotline...............786-596-8850
South Miami Hospital Compliance Officer...............786-662-8320
Baptist Health Enterprises...............786-527-8474
Baptist Health Medical Group...............786-595-1131
Baptist Outpatient Services...............786-308-2706
Bethesda Hospital................561-737-7733, Ext. 84666
Boca Raton Regional Hospital...............561-955-5396
Fishermen’s Community Hospital..............305-434-1657
Miami Cancer Institute...............786-527-7953
South Miami Hospital...............786-662-8888
West Kendall Baptist Hospital...............786-467-2022
Compliance Liaisons — Located in Risk Management
Baptist Health Enterprises...............786-308-2718
Baptist Health Medical Group...............786-308-2716
Baptist Outpatient Services...............786-596-7415
Fishermen’s Community Hospital................305-434-1671
Miami Cancer Institute...............786-596-4043
South Miami Hospital...............786-662-5018
West Kendall Baptist Hospital...............786-467-2088
If you do not feel comfortable discussing your concerns directly with your supervisor or one of the compliance contacts we have identified, you may call the Compliance Hotline, toll-free, and we will protect your anonymity to the extent possible. The number is 888-492-9329.
This line is not intended to replace your normal reporting process. It is another resource available to you when you have used other routes or do not feel comfortable discussing the issues with your supervisor or manager.
Calls are handled confidentially, and you are protected from any form of retaliation or retribution for reporting a violation. If anyone attempts to retaliate against an employee who reports an ethical or legal concern, and the report was made in good faith, the person who retaliated will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Compliance reports also can be made online at MyComplianceReport.com (enter Access ID BHS). Just like calls received via the Hotline, online reports can be made anonymously. Online reports are handled in the same confidential manner as calls, and anyone making an online report in good faith is also protected from retaliation or retribution.
Employees who are found to have violated any of the standards contained in our Code of Ethics may be subject to disciplinary action. The chief compliance officer will work in conjunction with Human Resources to recommend to senior management the type of disciplinary action that may be taken. Various factors are considered throughout the assessment and various levels of discipline are considered. All disciplinary actions are taken on a fair and equitable basis.
Any improper financial gain through misconduct involving the property or information of Baptist Health or its patients or customers is a serious violation. This may lead to prosecution and/or disciplinary action, which can include termination.
Q: Are calls placed to the Compliance Hotline traced?
A: Calls to the Compliance Hotline are not traced in any way. A third-party vendor answers the calls and does not track the phone number using Caller ID.
Q: Is it true I can remain anonymous when calling the Hotline?
A: Yes, if you are not comfortable giving your name, tell the operator that you wish to remain anonymous.
Q: How can I follow up on my Hotline call?
A: Callers to the Compliance Hotline are given a report number and a follow-up date. On or after the follow-up date, you can call the Hotline and obtain a status report regarding your call.
Q: If I file a report online through MyComplianceReport.com, will my computer ID be traced?
A: Just as calls to the telephone line are not traced, reports placed online are not traced in any way. You also will be given a follow-up date for online reports.
Q: What protects me from being retaliated against for making a report?
A: Retaliation for making a report is strictly prohibited. In addition, you may remain anonymous and calls are not traced.
The healthcare industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States, due to regulations ranging from those dealing with patient care to those dealing with submission of claims. Add to this the laws, rules and regulations that apply to any business, and the number of guidelines Baptist Health must follow becomes staggering.
The fact that there are so many guidelines to follow, however, does not impact our commitment to follow them according to our ethical standards. While it is impossible to discuss every law, rule and regulation that applies to the healthcare industry, what follows is a discussion of topics that are especially important and central to our commitment to excellence in patient care and moral integrity.
It is the policy of Baptist Health to fully comply with all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, standards and other compliance requirements at all levels of government and within the various professions employed by the health system. Our ethical standards are built upon this principle. We will not pursue any business opportunity that requires unethical or illegal activity. Employees are also expected to be aware of and comply with these requirements.
In order to define acceptable practices, we have established policies and procedures. All employees are expected to be aware of and comply with Baptist Health policies and procedures. Compliance with Baptist Health policies and procedures is an element in evaluating the performance of all employees.
- Integrity and Transparency — In all our actions and decisions.
- Belief — In our faith-based heritage and mission.
Baptist Health is committed to providing consistently high-quality patient care services without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference, national origin or disability. To avoid compromising the quality of care, clinical decisions (including tests, treatments and other interventions) are based on identified patient healthcare needs, not on financial circumstances.
It is our goal to provide high-quality healthcare services to our patients with skill, concern and compassion. Baptist Health offers a broad range of clinical services that are evidence- based and compassionately provided to ensure patient safety, superior clinical outcomes and the highest levels of satisfaction with a patient- and family-centered focus.
- Excellence — In all we do: customer service, patient care, relationships and organizational performance.
We provide respectful treatment and care to all patients coming to our facilities in an emergency, regardless of ability to pay or the source of payment. Baptist Health recognizes its responsibility as a provider of healthcare services to our community and provides charity care to those meeting established criteria.
- Compassion — For those we serve.
- Stewardship — To manage resources prudently and ethically to ensure the future ability to fulfill our mission.
Baptist Health ensures that employees are afforded nondiscriminatory terms, conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with the law, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference, age, disability or any other factor protected by applicable law. Supervisors and managers are available to discuss and resolve any concerns employees may have about their employment and responsibilities, including issues involving fair and equitable treatment. Human Resources representatives may be contacted to assist in resolving issues such as these. Because of the high premium we put on the value of employees, Baptist Health has adopted a comprehensive values statement that clearly articulates our Human Resources philosophy.
- People — Our greatest asset: our employees, physicians, Board members and volunteers.
Baptist Health is committed to providing an environment in which employees are treated with dignity and respect. An environment that is free from all forms of harassment or discrimination helps our employees perform effectively and gain both personal and professional satisfaction from their work. Any form of unlawful harassment or discrimination based upon factors such as race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, age, marital status, familial status, military/veteran status, disability status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or any other classification/characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Any employee who reports discrimination or harassment is protected from retaliation for making the report. Any leader who observes an incident or has received a report of an incident is required to report the information immediately to Human Resources.
Our employees will be provided a safe workplace and a safe environment. Threats, threatening language or any other acts of aggression or violence are not tolerated. All potentially dangerous situations should be reported immediately to your leader. If your leader is unavailable, Security or Human Resources should be contacted.
We are also committed to reducing and preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The Ergonomics Department provides education via its department website. Worksite assessments and remediation plans are also available through the department to provide a proactive approach to injury prevention.
Only appropriately licensed and credentialed individuals may provide medical care at our facilities. Baptist Health will not hire, employ, or contract with people or entities that have been excluded from participation in federal or state healthcare programs. Should a current employee, vendor, medical staff member, or Board member become subject to exclusion from a federally funded healthcare program, the excluded party must immediately notify Audit & Compliance of the exclusion. Audit & Compliance will work with the appropriate departments, e.g. Human Resources, Medical Staff Office, Supply Chain or Board leadership, to determine the appropriate actions to take in regard to the exclusion, up to and including termination of employment, medical staff privileges, contractual arrangements and/or Board membership.
All charitable contributions received from vendors must directly benefit a Baptist Health entity or Baptist Health Foundation and be paid directly to the Foundation. Under no circumstances may a check be made payable to an individual within Baptist Health. Baptist Health shall not accept any donations that are in conjunction with a marketing effort or sales promotion. Solicitation of vendors for charitable contributions may be made only by the Foundation. Individual employees or departments may not solicit vendors for gifts or contributions. All offers of charitable contributions should be referred to the appropriate Foundation representative.
A potential conflict of interest exists when you have the opportunity to benefit personally, beyond the receipt of your paycheck, from an action you are taking as part of your job duties. Potential conflicts of interest come in many forms. For example, let’s assume you are responsible for ordering medical supplies and can order those supplies from any one of three suppliers. If your husband or wife sells medical supplies for one of those suppliers and is paid on commission, you have a potential conflict of interest. You may benefit personally by ordering the medical supplies from that supplier. You must complete a conflict-of-interest disclosure form. The form is available electronically through Employee Self Service. Both your manager and the Audit and Compliance Department will review the information to determine whether an actual conflict of interest exists. A decision will then be made on whether you may order from that supplier. In order to avoid conflicts of interest, you are expected to:
- Serve Baptist Health with undivided loyalty and never use your position for personal gain.
- Devote your full time and ability to Baptist Health’s interests during your regular working hours and for whatever additional time may be properly required.
- Refrain from accepting additional employment or engaging in business activities outside regular working hours if these would tend to impair your ability to meet your regular job responsibilities to the system or conflict or compete with services provided by Baptist Health.
- Submit a conflict-of-interest disclosure form as soon as an actual or potential conflict of interest occurs. Disclosures must be updated as soon as a change in the situation occurs.
Refer to BHSF Policy 827 Employee Conflict of Interest. Log on to Employee Self Service to complete the online form.
Q: Does the conflict-of-interest policy apply to all employees?
A: Yes, the conflict-of-interest policy applies to all employees. An employee must disclose his or her employment, contractual relationship or financial relationship, other than his or her employment with Baptist Health.
Q: I have a job outside Baptist Health. Do you mean that I am not allowed to have a second job?
A: Our conflict-of-interest policy means only that you must disclose your second job. Once you have done that, a determination will be made as to whether your second job presents a conflict with your duties and responsibilities at Baptist Health.
Q: I disclosed my second job last year. Do I have to do it every year?
A: Our policy requires that you disclose potential conflicts of interest as soon as they arise and when there is a change in circumstances. Managers must renew their disclosure each year.
Q: My husband just got a new job with a competing hospital. Do I need to complete the form now or can I wait until next year?
A: A potential conflict of interest must be disclosed as soon as it arises. Complete a form now to report your husband’s employment with a competitor.
Baptist Health representatives will not solicit, accept, offer or pay bribes, kickbacks or other illegal incentives for the purpose of personal gain, developing business or any other purpose.
A vendor is defined as any person or company doing business with or seeking to do business with Baptist Health. Except in limited circumstances, the giving or receiving of gifts, other than gifts of nominal value to or from a vendor, is not allowed. This prohibition extends to family members as well. Cash gifts, including gift certificates and gift cards, may never be accepted, no matter what the value.
Noncash gifts of nominal value may be accepted. The guideline used to determine if a gift is of nominal value is $150. If the value of a gift is $150 or more, it is not considered nominal and the gift must not be accepted. In addition, you should consider whether you have received more than one gift from the same source. On an annual basis, the value of gifts received from the same source must not exceed $300.
Gifts can be in the form of favors, gratuities or other things of value. Discounts for personal items from vendors could be considered a gift and should not be accepted if they are outside of a prearranged Baptist Health discount or if they are of more than nominal value. Remember, cash or cash equivalents such as gift certificates or gift cards may never be accepted.
- Cash, gift cards and gift certificates may never be accepted from any vendor.
- Noncash gifts must be worth less than $150 and cannot total more than $300 per year.
- Vendors or potential vendors may not pay for travel.
- Departments or individuals may not solicit contributions from vendors for departmental activities
- BHSF Policy 827 Employee Conflict of Interest.
- BHSF Policy 828 Vendor-sponsored Travel.
- BHSF Policy 829 Acceptance of Honorariums.
- BHSF Policy 831 Philanthropic Solicitation of Vendors.
Attending business lunches or meals occasionally as a guest of a vendor, sales representative or other person who does business with or is someone who could potentially do business with Baptist Health is allowed. Meals with vendors or potential vendors should be infrequent, and the meals should be of nominal value. Consideration should also be given to other factors such as appearances. For example, the meal should be in an appropriate setting, at an appropriate time.
On occasion, a vendor or potential vendor will offer to pay for an employee or a family member to attend a meeting. This could be an educational program, seminar, user group, speaking engagement, promotional program, meeting, site visit or other activity. Baptist Health does not permit vendor-sponsored travel. If the travel has a legitimate business purpose, and is in accordance with our policy on travel expenses, Baptist Health will pay for employees’ travel.
An employee may accept an invitation from a vendor to attend a social event, meal or other entertainment while traveling, as long as the value meets our definition of nominal and the other guidelines outlined for entertainment.
Management staff may not accept honorariums for speaking engagements. Nonmanagement staff may accept honorariums under limited circumstances. The employee’s manager must also preapprove the payment to a nonmanager. The organization offering an honorarium may instead make a contribution to the Foundation in the amount of the honorarium.
Baptist Health will not pay employees, physicians, other healthcare professionals or anyone else for referrals of patients. Bribes and kickbacks or any kind of benefits intended to induce patient referrals are strictly prohibited. We will not accept payment as a reward for providing patient referrals.
Employees are expected to conduct business with all parties, including fellow employees, healthcare professionals, vendors and payers, in accordance with high moral and ethical standards. All decisions regarding patient care will be based solely on the best interests of the patient.
Employees and agents involved in the negotiation of contracts for Baptist Health must ensure that all statements, communications and representations are open, accurate, appropriate, truthful and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Regulatory and legal restrictions in the area of referral incentives are complex. Because of this, no transactions involving referral sources (e.g., physicians) are to be undertaken without the involvement of the Legal Department.
All arrangements with clinicians, physicians and other referral sources must be in writing and must identify the specific service that the professional is paid to provide. Agreements must include specific and realistic time commitments and compensation rates for the services that are at fair market value. The compensation rate cannot be based on the volume or value of any business referred to Baptist Health. All decisions regarding patient care should be made based on what is best for the patient, not on the value of a business arrangement.
All payments or other benefits provided to physicians must be supported with documentation adequate to justify the legal business purpose for which the payment is being made. Documentation must also confirm that the services contracted were, in fact, provided.
The Anti-kickback Statute prohibits payments or other consideration given to physicians for referrals for services. When dealing with a physician, no employee will take anything from or offer to give anything to the physician in exchange for the referral of patients or patient-related services to or from the physician. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service prohibits private individuals, including physicians, from receiving an undue private benefit as the result of their relationship with a tax-exempt healthcare organization. An undue private benefit could be any amount in excess of the fair market value related to the arrangement.
All contracts with physicians must be approved by the Legal Department, or a lawyer specifically designated for this purpose by the Legal Department, before finalizing the contract with the physician. This is done to ensure that any contractual arrangements do not violate the Anti-kickback Statute, Stark Laws, IRS regulations or any other law or internal policy.
- There are many complex laws that govern our transactions with physicians.
- The Legal Department has developed standards for transactions with physicians.
- Prior to entering into any arrangement with a physician or other healthcare provider, contact the Legal Department at 786-662-7022.
Baptist Health will not knowingly submit a bill or charge for certain services in which the referring physician (or an immediate family member) has a financial relationship with the health system, unless certain exceptions are met.
Because of the complexity of these laws, approval from the Legal Department, or a lawyer specifically designated for this purpose by the Legal Department, must be obtained prior to establishing a financial relationship with any physician.
Charge entry is among the first steps that contribute to the creation of a bill that will be submitted to a payer for payment. All charges must be supported by the medical record documentation for the patient. Charges must be entered based upon services rendered, rather than upon services ordered. Charges must also be entered within reasonable time frames, according to the parameters established by hospital policy.
Codes assigned by the Health Information Management Department are reported to various regulatory agencies as well as payers. Codes are also assigned through the charge entry process and are also reported to various agencies. These codes may be used to determine coverage and payment. All medical record-related codes must be assigned to a patient account based upon the documentation available in the medical record. Assignment of codes for conditions or procedures that are not documented is not allowed. If an intentional misrepresentation of a patient’s condition or the services provided is found, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination.
The intentional submission of any claim for payment that is false, fraudulent, inaccurate, incomplete or fictitious will not be tolerated. There are strict federal and state laws and regulations governing third-party billing of our insured patients. Baptist Health and its employees can be prosecuted for intentionally filing inaccurate claims for reimbursement; this can lead to extremely large civil fines, criminal penalties or both.
Our Code of Ethics requires:
- Employees who perform billing and coding to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that their work is accurate, timely and in compliance with the applicable Baptist Health policies and federal and state laws and regulations;
- Baptist Health to make corrections as appropriate if inaccuracies are discovered in bills that have been submitted;
- Baptist Health to bill only for services actually rendered and that are appropriately documented in patients’ medical records, using only billing codes that accurately describe the services provided; and
- Baptist Health to ensure, to the extent reasonably possible, that all claims to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal and state programs are for services that are medically necessary and properly documented.
The following are examples of unacceptable billing practices:
- Knowingly and willfully making, or causing to be made, any false statement or representation of material fact in any bill, claim or report submitted to a third-party payer;
- Concealing or failing to disclose an event affecting the right to or amount of a payment, with the intent to fraudulently secure payment in an amount greater than is due or when no such payment is authorized;
- Presenting, or causing to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim; and Submitting requests for payment in violation of the terms of an assignment or an agreement with the payer.
You are obligated to notify your supervisor or manager, or the Audit and Compliance Department, of any requests to deviate from accepted billing practices or about any questions you may have in this area.
The federal government enacted the False Claims Act (FCA) to prohibit the knowing submission of false or fraudulent claims to the federal government, including Medicare. Penalties for violating the FCA can be up to three times the amount of the payment received on the claim, plus additional amounts up to $11,000 per false claim. False claims can also result in exclusion from the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs. The state of Florida has enacted a similar law, which also includes penalties for individuals or entities that submit false or fraudulent claims to the state or to Medicaid.
In order to prevent violations of the federal and Florida FCAs, we have established policies and procedures that reinforce our commitment to the highest ethical standards when it comes to submitting claims for payment to any payer. These policies and procedures are available on the Intranet and are summarized in our Code of Ethics. Consistent with the FCA, we encourage employees, vendors and contractors to report to us suspected improper conduct. We protect from retaliation any employee, vendor or contractor who reports to Baptist Health a suspected violation. Potential violations may be reported directly to any member of management or anonymously via the Compliance Hotline or online at MyComplianceReport.com (enter Access ID BHS).
- Claims to payers must be completed accurately and supported by the medical record documentation.
- Errors must be corrected as appropriate.
- BHSF Policy 845 Compliance With Regulations Governing Third-Party Billing.
- BHSF Policy 851 Reporting and Returning Overpayments Received from Federally Funded Healthcare Programs.
The Audit and Compliance Department is the department primarily responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct. The department charter sets out the mission for the department and describes its responsibility to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud, waste and abuse. The department performs proactive audits, provides training and performs investigations, all under the guidance of the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Baptist Health Board of Trustees.
The policies and procedures addressing Baptist Health’s commitment to, and the department’s role in, the prevention and detection of fraud, waste and abuse are available on the Intranet.
All Baptist Health records (financial, clinical and employee) must be accurate, timely, reliable and properly stored. All assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses must be recorded in the books of the health system. All transactions must be appropriately documented and all assets must be used for the purpose approved.
An employee’s time card must accurately reflect the time worked and other benefits payable, such as PTO or call time. An employee’s signature (manual or electronic) means that the documentation accurately reflects the data it represents. For example, a supervisor’s signature on a timecard or expense report means that the data has been reviewed and that steps have been taken to verify the validity of the hours or expenses reported and the accuracy of the cost center allocation of those expenses. The Code emphasizes the need for honesty, integrity and accuracy in our conduct and in all of our transactions. The accuracy and thoroughness of Baptist Health’s records are an essential element of sustaining high ethical, professional and legal business practices.
- BHSF Policy 841 Submission of Accurate Information to Government Payers — False Claims Act.
- BHSF Policy 451.01 Records Retention.
- BHSF Policy 451 Document Hold Orders.
Baptist Health has created a policy to provide for the routine and orderly maintenance of records that are needed for legal, financial or operational purposes. The Legal Department has created a records retention schedule that outlines the types of records to be maintained and the retention periods. Documents that pertain to an actual or threatened litigation or investigation are safeguarded and not destroyed.
- Be aware of patient privacy — avoid unintended disclosures.
- Safeguard computer passwords and user IDs — do not share.
- Dispose of documents properly, keeping in mind privacy laws.
- Access only the information needed to perform your job duties.
- Contact the Privacy Office at 786-596-8850, or email Privacy@BaptistHealth.net
Our profession requires that we gather a great deal of personal and health information about patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives patients and consumers specific rights to privacy and limits the use of individually identifiable health information. We must carefully avoid any unnecessary invasion of the patient’s right to privacy. The inappropriate release of patient information in any form may be harmful to the patient and to Baptist Health. We must also protect patient information that, if improperly accessed, could be used to illegally obtain goods, services or cash. This includes health or contact information about a patient or data such as a Social Security number or credit card number. The inappropriate release of patient information may subject you to civil and criminal prosecution, as well as termination from Baptist Health.
In order to protect patient information from inappropriate disclosure, you are expected to:
- Limit your access to, and use of, patient information to that required by your duties, permitted by law and authorized by Baptist Health;
- Use only legitimate and authorized means to collect patient information and, whenever practical, obtain it directly from the patient;
- Release information concerning patients in drug and alcohol treatment programs and information regarding a patient’s HIV status only in accordance with special confidentiality rules and laws that apply to this information;
- Refrain from revealing any patient information unless supported by legitimate business or patient care purposes as defined by Baptist Health;
- Refrain from discussing health information with any person inside or outside Baptist Health unless it is in connection with your work, permitted by law and authorized by Baptist Health;
- Be aware of your surroundings and guard against visitors and third parties needlessly overhearing patient health information; and
- Refrain from removing, sending or electronically transmitting a patient medical record, or a copy, without the authorization of a supervisor or other designated official.
The Privacy Office has developed policies and procedures that define our privacy practices. Patient and employee complaints of privacy violations may be reported through the HIPAA Privacy Hotline at 786-596-8850 or email Privacy@BaptistHealth.net
All business records of Baptist Health are proprietary and confidential, and certain records must be maintained in compliance with the law. Federal and state laws also require that Baptist Health maintain certain business records for minimum periods of time. In addition, Baptist Health often has a need to locate various business and corporate records on short notice. Therefore, you must limit your access, use and disclosure of business information and corporate records to that required to perform your duties as an employee of Baptist Health. You must not remove or electronically transmit business or corporate records, or copies of such records, from any department of the health system without authorization of the appropriate manager.
The availability of electronic records such as medical record information and business records brings with it increased potential for inappropriate access. All employees are required to take the appropriate actions to safeguard against unauthorized access to electronic records. Passwords issued to an employee are for that employee’s use only to complete assigned duties. Due care must be taken to protect the confidentiality of passwords assigned to you. In addition, reasonable precautions must be taken to protect against unauthorized access to work areas where confidential information may be available or displayed.
Social media is a broad term meant to cover the use of technology for social interaction, including the construction of words and pictures. Some examples of social media are Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, chat rooms and blogs. As an employee of Baptist Health, you have access to all kinds of confidential information, such as business records, patient information and marketing strategies. Employees, contractors, vendors and volunteers are prohibited from using social media to disclose confidential patient and business information. Users of social media who indicate they are associated with Baptist Health must clearly specify that any opinions expressed are their own and not those of Baptist Health. All external representations of Baptist Health must first be authorized by the Marketing and Communications Department.
Baptist Health’s marketing and communications information is truthful and is not intended to mislead. Claims about Baptist Health services are based on facts.
Baptist Health strives to have good relationships with other healthcare providers and complies with all applicable laws pertaining to antitrust and competition. Such laws generally forbid any kind of understanding or agreement, whether written or oral, between competitors to fix or control fees for services, terms or conditions of treatment, or to engage in any other conduct that restrains competition.
You must not discuss proprietary or confidential information, such as pricing policy, terms and conditions, costs, inventories, marketing and product plans, market surveys and studies, production plans and capabilities with anyone outside of the organization.
Baptist Health competes fairly in the market. We will not agree with a competitor about what prices to charge, whom to call on for sales and what services to offer. The following are examples of prohibited activities:
- Attempts to unlawfully monopolize the provision of medical services;
- Predatory fees (fees set at unreasonably low levels to drive out or keep competitors out of the market);
- Telling a supplier that Baptist Health’s decision to purchase goods or services is dependent upon the supplier’s seeking medical services from Baptist Health;
- Other tying arrangements (conditioning the purchase or sale of one product on an agreement to do other business with Baptist Health); or
- Paying an unaffiliated healthcare provider cash or giving gifts as an incentive to promote Baptist Health’s services.
Federal law says that organizations exempt from federal income tax may not participate or intervene in any political campaign related to any candidate for public office, whether the election is local, state or federal. This includes statements either in support of or against political candidates. Since many of our business entities are tax-exempt, you may not donate any Baptist Health South Florida funds, products, services or other resources to any political cause, party or candidate. This includes use of such things as Baptist Health email or mailing lists, and the use of social media. For example, if you appear on social media, presenting your personal donation to a political candidate, and you are wearing your Baptist Health I.D. badge, it could appear as if you are making the donation on behalf of Baptist Health; an email from a Baptist Health email account urging votes against a particular candidate would be improper because the email account belongs to Baptist Health. You, as an individual, may voluntarily make personal contributions to any lawful political cause, party or candidate. Your personal contribution must not be represented as coming from Baptist Health, and you must not solicit or obtain the money from Baptist Health for the specific purpose of making the contribution.
You are personally responsible and accountable for the proper use of our funds and property. Each employee is responsible for taking measures to protect computer systems and networks from unauthorized use, access or modification of software. Baptist Health also requires employees to protect patient and other customer property and information to the extent possible.
Our employees are expected to:
- Be personally responsible and accountable for the proper expenditure of Baptist Health’s funds and the proper use of its property.
- Use supplies, equipment and property bought and owned by Baptist Health for business purposes only.Unauthorized use of Baptist Health property is considered theft.
- Use computer systems’ software and hardware that Baptist Health owns or operates to conduct business.
- Follow the requirements of software copyright licenses and corporate policies on software usage.
- Dispose of surplus, obsolete or junked property in accordance with our policies and procedures. Unauthorized disposal of property is a misuse of assets.
Use of a Baptist Health computer does not guarantee personal privacy.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) establishes guidelines for conducting business with entities outside the United States. Provisions of the Act apply to any agent or U.S. citizen transacting business with a foreign official. All employees or agents of Baptist Health are required to conduct international transactions in accordance with our Code of Ethics, including the standards set forth in the FCPA.
All requests for information from any regulatory or government agency must be complied with in an accurate and timely manner, following the laws and regulations that apply. Any nonroutine request, such as a subpoena, affidavit, warrant or letter from a regulatory or government agency must be immediately referred to the Legal Department or to the Audit and Compliance Department. Any notification of a violation or citation from a government agency that alleges a violation related to the topics covered by our Code must be referred to the Legal Department or Audit and Compliance for immediate attention.
We will cooperate with all valid and appropriate government inquiries or investigations concerning the legal or business practices of Baptist Health. Employees should not obstruct any government request for information, audit or investigation of Baptist Health.
Our employees must fully cooperate with all internal and external audits conducted, including Audit and Compliance Department audits and investigations.
Any request for information from a news or other media source should be referred to the Marketing and Communications Department.
- BHSF Policy 850 Appropriate Routing of Requests for Information and Notifications of Billing Discrepancies by Federally Funded Programs.