Compliance credential should be available by fall

By this fall, the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), based in Philadelphia, expects to unveil the first national credential designed specifically for corporate compliance officers.

Likely to be called Certified Compliance Officer (CCO), the credential came about after HCCA members noted the lack of any formal education or training available for individuals who either have an interest in becoming compliance officers or have already been appointed to the position by their institution.

With the help of consultants from Compliance Systems Legal Group, HCCA officers have begun the process of developing the credential. And while final decisions haven't been made, the credential is likely to have the following characteristics:

- Eligibility will be restricted to those with either a nursing or bachelor's degree.

- The credential will be offered in partnership with a college or university. HCCA is in talks with an institution but isn't prepared to release its name. "We would want the university to actually look at the program and make sure that it meets the standards of the institution," says F. Lisa Murtha, JD, senior manager and director of control and compliance practice at Deloitte & Touche LLP and an officer at HCCA. "We think that will provide us with the checks and balances to make sure that we know what's going on and we're doing it correctly."

- To obtain the credential, compliance officers will have to complete a week-long program on the campus of the sponsoring university. Courses will include topics such as how to perform billing and coding audits, how to develop an auditing and monitoring program for the university, and legal issues in compliance.

- The program will be offered twice per year to begin with but may move to a quarterly or even monthly schedule as demand warrants.

- The cost of the program is likely to range between $3,000 and $4,000.

Application materials should be available by summer, with the first class session to begin sometime this fall, Murtha says. Compliance Hotline will follow up with further information as it becomes available.