Compliance programs now the norm, survey shows

Compliance programs in the health care industry are now the norm, according to the 2000 Profile of Health Care Compliance Officers, an annual survey conducted by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) in Philadelphia and Walker Information, a consulting company.

The survey results show that health care organizations have made compliance programs part of their day-to-day operations — 98% of health care organizations surveyed report they have a corporate compliance officer (CCO), while 100% have conducted formal compliance training for employees. There’s more good news for the compliance profession: The percentage of health care organizations with active compliance programs in place has increased from 55% in 1999 to 71% in 2000.

"We’re very close to market saturation for compliance programs," says Brent Saunders, immediate past president of the HCCA. He worked with Jeff Marr of Walker to develop the survey.

Who got the survey?

The surveys were sent to 3,429 health care compliance professionals in June 2000, and 715 were completed and returned to Walker for tabulation. That represents a 21% response rate. HCCA has been tracking the compliance field’s progress by conducting an annual survey since 1998.

Results show 57% of CCOs have their own departments with budgetary responsibilities and staff. As may be expected, larger organizations, those with more than $600 million in revenues, are more likely to report separate compliance departments: 78% have stand-alone departments. The average annual budget of compliance departments is $292,990, while the average budget for payers is $466,670, and the average compliance department budget for providers is $280,940.

The salaries of CCOs are broken out according to geographical regions, education, organization size, and payer/provider. This year, the average salary of a CCO is $89,500 for providers and $99,060 for payers. In organizations with 5,000 or more employees, the CCO’s average salary is $125,090; the average for CCOs with doctorate degrees is $128,096. The average salary of CCOs in the West is $95,270, while the average salary in the Northeast is $89,410. The average age is 46.2; 56% are female, and 44% are male; close to 60% have advanced degrees; and 59% are part of the organization’s senior management team.