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CHS Gift Policy

CHS Gift Policy 

 

I. Purpose:

To establish standards regarding the solicitation and acceptance of gifts at the workplace or home, by employees, physicians and volunteers of Catholic Health Services of Long Island and its System Affiliates (collectively known herein as CHS) from vendors, patients and families.

II. Background:

CHS is committed to promoting integrity and honesty in its dealings with patients, families, third-party payors, regulatory agencies, employees, physicians and other health professionals and vendors. To that end, each of the entities within CHS have developed and implemented compliance programs designed to:

A compliance with applicable statutes, regulations and rules; demonstrate to employees and the community CHS' commitment to responsible corporate conduct; increase  the  likelihood  of  preventing  and/or  identifying  unlawful  and/or  unethical behavior; ??improve the quality, efficiency and consistency of providing services; and ??assess accurately employee, physician and contractor behavior. Relationships and transactions between healthcare providers and vendors, patients and families are vast and often complex.  While offers of gifts are common in the healthcare industry, they may in some circumstances violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.  Under this statute, it is unlawful for any person to accept or provide anything of value with the intent of influencing the referral of patients, arranging for the purchasing, leasing, ordering or furnishing  of  any  item  or  services  covered  by  a  Federal  or  state  healthcare  program. Therefore, gifts and certain business courtesies from vendors may implicate this statute, because in many cases, vendor costs are either directly or indirectly reimbursed by a government healthcare program such as Medicare and Medicaid.

III. Definitions:

Gifts:  Items of value that include, but are not limited to, cash and cash equivalents, meals and other food items, flowers, promotional items, discounts, travel and/or lodging expenses, tickets to sporting or entertainment events, tickets to hospital sponsored events (e.g. golf outings and galas), vendor sponsored educational sessions and payment for seminars and conferences.

Interested Person:  An interested person is (a) an officer or Director/Trustee of CHS; (b) any employee who receives an annual salary in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), or (c) any employee who receives an annual salary in excess of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and is in a position to influence decisions concerning the persons or entities with whom CHS engages in business relationships; or (d) a member of a standing or board- designated committee of the Board, who has a non-financial interest or a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined herein.

Nominal Value:   A monetary value assigned to gifts, not to exceed fifty dollars per occurrence.  For purposes of this Policy, employees, physicians and volunteers may use their best judgment to assign a reasonable estimated value to the gifts.

System Affiliate:  The term System Affiliate includes Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, St. Charles Hospital, St. Catherine of Siena Nursing Home, Our Lady of Consolation Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center, Maryhaven Center of Hope, Catholic Home Care, CHS Home Support Services, Good Shepherd Hospice, and CHS Services, Inc., as well as any related organization that is included in the consolidated financial statements of the entities listed herein.

Vendor:  Any individual or company that currently sells goods and/or services to, or seeks to do business with CHS, including home health agencies not affiliated with CHS.

 

IV. Policy:

It is the policy of CHS that the solicitation or acceptance of gifts from vendors, patients and families comply with applicable laws and meet ethical standards.  Although this CHS Gift Policy (Policy) is intended to address a broad spectrum of situations that may arise involving interactions between vendors, physicians, patients, families and CHS personnel, questions may arise about situations that do not appear to be covered by this Policy.   In those circumstances, CHS personnel should seek advice from their operating entity Compliance Officer.

 

The CHS Gift Policy covers the following components:

A.  General:

Although employees, physicians and volunteers are prohibited from soliciting gifts, gifts of a nominal value and on an occasional basis may be accepted.   However, gifts that would  influence  or  appear  to  influence  an  employee,  physician  or  volunteer  in  the conduct of his/her responsibilities at CHS shall never be accepted.  The timing of the gift

 

or offer of a gift should also be considered when determining if the gift is appropriate. An appearance of impropriety or undue influence is created when gifts are offered and/or accepted with frequency, of significant value or during a decision making process.

 

Acceptance of cash by any CHS employee, physician and volunteer, from patients, families and vendors is never acceptable.

Although it is customary for people to offer cash gratuities for services provided by certain types of employees, such as delivery and transportation personnel, CHS’ commitment to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior in its dealings with patients, vendors and other individuals, prohibits the acceptance of cash gratuities.

B.  Solicitation of Gifts:

It is not appropriate for CHS employees, physicians and volunteers to solicit items for personal or departmental use. This includes, but is not limited to, gifts, payments or loans from a vendor, physician or physicians group, patient, patient’s family or any other individual or entity doing business with CHS.

CHS  recognizes  that  charity  events  sponsored  by  CHS  entities  are  an  important component of the fundraising activities of these organizations.  However, the solicitation for  fundraising  activities  is  not  within  the  scope  of  this  Policy.    In  addition,  the acceptance and distribution of tickets for such fundraising events, including tickets donated by vendors, shall be the responsibility of the operating entity’s Development Department  or  in  the  absence  of  such  department,  the  department  or  personnel responsible for fund raising activities at the operating entity.

Soliciting  gifts  from  vendors  or  individuals  affiliated  with  the  entity,  including physicians, for the purpose of holding a department party or celebration week is not permitted.   Inquiries from vendors and physicians regarding departmental parties or celebration   weeks   shall   be   referred   to   the   operating   entity’s   Human   Resource Department.

C.  Gifts from Patients and their Families:

CHS understands that it is customary for patients and their families to give gifts to employees and volunteers at Christmas and throughout the year to show appreciation for the services provided. Gifts of nominal value given to individual employees may be accepted; however gifts that exceed the nominal value are unacceptable and must be returned.  Gifts given to departments, and not individual employees, and which may exceed the nominal value and are considered reasonable and customary (e.g. fruit baskets and cookie trays) may be accepted.

Cash and cash equivalents, which include gift cards, can never be accepted as a gift by employees, physicians and volunteers from patients and their families.  If a patient or another individual wishes to present a monetary gift, the individual should be referred to the operating entity’s Development Department or in the absence of such department, the department or personnel responsible for fund raising activities at the operating entity.

 

D.  Gifts from Vendors:

In accordance with the CHS Vendor Policy, it is inappropriate for CHS or any of its employees, physicians and volunteers to request or receive goods and/or services from any vendor for personal use or enjoyment.  No vendor may offer gifts, monies or business services to CHS employees, physicians or volunteers that could violate Federal anti- kickback statutes and are not in accordance with this Policy.

Vendor Logo Items: Gifts which are nominal in value and solely promotional in nature, such as items bearing a vendor’s logo or given to commemorate an event, are acceptable on an occasional basis.

Christmas Gifts: CHS  understands  that  it  is  customary  for  vendors  to  give  gifts  to  employees  and volunteers during the Christmas Season.  Gifts of nominal value given to individual employees may be accepted; however gifts that exceed the nominal value are not acceptable and must be returned to the vendor.  Gifts given to departments, and not individual employees, and which may exceed the nominal value and are considered reasonable and customary (e.g. fruit baskets and cookie trays) may be accepted during the Christmas Season.  Gifts of a similar nature may not be accepted at other times of the year, unless specifically indicated in this Policy

Conferences, Seminars and Educational Events: Payment by vendors for conferences and seminars attended by CHS employees are not permitted.  If attendance is required at a conference, seminar or user group, payment shall be made by the respective CHS operating entity.

Vendor sponsored educational events, which may include continuing education credits, (such as lunch and learns) at a CHS entity or other local venue are permissible; however the curriculum must be approved by the entities’ Education or Human Resources Department and the event may not include advertising or marketing of the vendor’s services.  Meals associated with an approved educational event must be nominal in value. Vendor  sponsored  educational  events  shall  be  monitored  by  the  entity  Compliance Officer.

Meals and other Food Items: Meals  and  other  food  items  provided  by  vendors  without  an  approved  educational purpose or legitimate business purpose are not permitted, unless specifically indicated in this  Policy.    Meals  associated  with  an  approved  educational  purpose  or  legitimate business purpose must be nominal in value.

Transportation/Meals/Lodging for Product Evaluations: Paid transportation, meals and or lodging for product evaluation from a potential or existing vendor is not permitted.  All expenses related to this process shall be paid by the respective CHS operating entity.

 

Non CHS Events: CHS recognizes that attendance at non-CHS events, such as golf outings and galas, may serve a beneficial business purpose.   However, since the value associated with these events is not nominal, payment by vendors is not permitted.  If attendance at such events is deemed warranted, payment shall be made by the respective operating entity.

V.  Disclosure:

The CHS Conflict of Interest Policy requires all interested persons to disclose all gifts, items, favors, services or entertainment received from companies, persons, or entities that do business with CHS or its System Affiliates and from whom they were received and the estimated value of item, service, entertainment, etc. on the Annual Conflict of Interest Statement of Disclosure.

 

Questions about situations that do not appear to be covered by this Policy should be addressed by the operating entity Compliance Officer.   Failure to adhere to this Policy shall be considered a serious breach of an individual’s obligation to CHS’ Compliance Program and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.