Board members for organizations of all sizes need to be familiar with the OIG’s recent publication of Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight. This informative guide is intended to assist the Board member of any health care organization fulfil compliance obligations with the myriad of health care laws and regulations. Although acknowledging that there is no “one size fits all” approach to compliance, the guidance emphasizes the importance of compliance for every health care organization. The guidance offers practical advice about common compliance issues and how to address them.

The document, which builds on previous guidance, was developed in collaboration between the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) and three leading health care professional organizations: the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors (AHIA), the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), and the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA). In addition to boards of health care organizations, the guidance will be useful to assist internal auditors, lawyers, and compliance officers.

This guidance does more than assist Board members to fulfill their compliance duties effectively. By issuing this publicly available document, the OIG serves notice of the standard to which it will hold Board members in the event of a compliance problem with their organization. Every board member should know what the OIG’s expects.