“That got my attention,” Levinson told the crowd during his morning keynote address at the 16th annual the HCCA Compliance Institute, being held at Caesar's Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. “I think I know my audience. And you are the good guys.”
Levinson said that in his opinion, it's helpful for compliance officers at healthcare providers to be able to report to the board of directors independent of the general counsel's office. Lawyers may occasionally have different views than compliance departments on whether things like new ventures are being set up right, he said, which makes their independent insight valuable.
“The kind of chatter that exists around conferences like this is that corporate compliance officers do not get the kind of hearing, at least in some venues, that they really should have in order to have their message really be effective. And that's unfortunate,” Levinson said in an interview after his remarks. “It's important that compliance officers feel comfortable, feel confident, being able to provide best advice. And when that is not happening, that is not serving either the company well, nor the (government reimbursement) programs well.”
He cited the common statistic that between 20% and 30% of the $2.7 trillion in national healthcare spending consists of waste, fraud or abuse, but he noted that intentional fraud appears to be a smaller subset of the problem and not the result of a sweeping “culture of corruption.”
Levinson concluded his remarks to the conference crowd on a light-hearted note, displaying an image of a police badge and with the words, “Corporate Compliance Officer” inscribed on it, drawing laughs from the crowd. “This is important work,” he said. “I want to get the job done, and lose the stress.”