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New Partners and Alliances Changing the World of Healthcare Compliance

HealthStream recently spoke with Sheryl Vacca, Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Providence St. Joseph Health, a $24-billion company with 130,000 caregivers in seven states. Vacca, who began her healthcare career as a nurse at the bedside, now handles oversight for compliance, audit, risk management, and information security.

New Partners, Alliances, Mergers, and Acquisitions

“If you pay attention nationally, you will see mergers and acquisitions occurring with partners that we would never have expected to be partners in healthcare,” Vacca says. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have decided to branch out from the tech world and enter into healthcare. These companies may not have a clearly defined focus yet, but they have made it known that healthcare is an area they plan to partner in.

A Changing Regulatory Environment

With these new partnerships, healthcare organizations now have new contractual obligations that they need to accommodate, and they have acquired different revenue streams from businesses that would not necessarily be perceived as healthcare companies. Vacca explains how this can get complicated from a compliance perspective, “From here, our compliance rules and regulations wind up expanding into fields other than healthcare. This can be another regulatory arm or another related requirement, and we have to be aware of where that’s going. As you’re looking at these different contractual arrangements and working in different capacities with these unexpected partners, you have to decide how this might affect you from a regulatory perspective and be prepared to adapt.”

Rethinking Governance Structures

Vacca states that as a compliance officer, she is constantly looking at different governance structures so that her organization can be outside the walls of the stringent requirements that they have in the hospital setting and with the care that needs to be provided there. She emphasizes, “We’re always looking for ways to structure ourselves that will allow us the freedom to do what needs to be done to thrive as an organization in the future.”

About Sheryl Vacca

Healthcare compliance expert Sheryl Vacca is Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Providence St. Joseph Health, a $24-billion company with 130,000 caregivers in seven states. Her responsibilities include oversight for compliance, audit, risk management, and information security. Most recently, she served as the system-wide senior vice president for chief compliance and audit officer at the University of California. Vacca has received awards from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA).

This blog post is taken from a HealthStream Second Opinions Podcast that was recorded recently. To hear Vacca’s full discussion, click here.

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