By Sarah Pridgeon
Crook County Medical Services (CCMSD) introduced new policies last week to support whistleblowers and identify the chain of command. The Board of Trustees, along with CEO Jan Van Beek and Director of Nursing Connie Clous, convened on Thursday to discuss and implement the new changes.
The new whistleblower policy , which is intended to encourage and enable employees to raise serious concerns within CCMSD, prior to seeking resolution outside it, states that it’s the responsibility of all directors, officers and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. This, in turn, requires honesty and integrity and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
All directors, officers and employees are now expected to report violations, or suspected violations, of these high standards in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy. Nobody who does so shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequences and any employee who does retaliate against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
“There hasn’t been a policy specifically to allow anybody in good faith to report a violation without fear of retaliation,” said Van Beek. “It was mentioned in the compliance plan, but it wasn’t yet a policy.”
The second new policy concerns the chain of command. “If someone has a question concerning their work and their supervisor is gone, who do they go to?” explains Van Beek.
Utilizing an organizational chart approved at this month’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Chain of Command policy describes the appropriate people an employee should go to with questions, concerns, problems and suggestions.
If an employee’s immediate supervisor is unavailable, the department manager is the next person in the list, followed by the hospital administrator. The personnel department is also available for policy or benefit questions and as an “objective sounding board.”
Two existing policies were also discussed; official approval was given to the compensation plan, for differential and holiday pay, that has been in use since November. The Abuse, Prevention of Abuse and Abuse Reporting policy was also changed to meet new federal regulations and separate the procedural section for easier updating in the future.