OhioHealth Taps Clark Christian To Lead Corporate Ethics, Compliance and Internal Audit Functions
OhioHealth’s newest lead executive says her mission is to help the healthcare system live by its cardinal value: to honor the dignity and worth of each person. Valda Clark Christian recently joined OhioHealth as Senior Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. In this executive role, she leads the OhioHealth Corporate Ethics and Compliance program and Internal Audit function.
In her new role, Clark Christian oversees system policies and procedures that govern how patients are treated, which includes protecting their privacy, ensuring fair and accurate billing and maintaining vigilance against cybercrime.
“We are a value-driven organization, committed to carrying out our mission with the highest integrity and doing what is the right thing to do, not some of the time but all of the time,” Clark Christian says.
Citing a familiar quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” Clark Christian says, “We are the planning part. We provide the support infrastructure to help OhioHealth achieve its mission of improving the health of those we serve.”
Prior to joining OhioHealth, Clark Christian served as Chief Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator for University Hospitals Health System in Cleveland and Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for MedStar Health in Columbia, MD.
Two factors – the growing use of electronic medical records and issues that arose out of the Covid-19 pandemic – have underscored the need to enhance patient privacy. OhioHealth operates a 24/7 hotline for employees or patients who have concerns about misconduct, including privacy rights being violated. The hotline also provides additional resources for patients to protect themselves from cyber hacks and other security breaches. “Cybercrime has been growing exponentially in health care. We want to make sure our cyber response is as strong and robust as it should be,” Clark Christian says.
Other areas of focus include thwarting healthcare fraud and unfair billing by reviewing documentation and records to make sure that patient bills are consistent with the care patients received and are only for services deemed medically necessary. That same scrutiny should be applied before tests and services are ordered, she says. “We have to ask, does that patient really need this?”
Her office also oversees ethical issues that might alter how a provider delivers care.
Clark Christian also directs OhioHealth’s compliance with myriad government regulations, such as those that prohibit hospital emergency departments from turning patients away or delaying treatment based on inability to pay or directing them to other care sites. She cites one example from earlier in her career when a nurse, with good intentions, suggested a patient go to another emergency department with shorter wait times. “That becomes a training opportunity. We are a resource for frontline caregivers, helping them realize what the law says.”
Clark Christian earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Spanish from Williams College in Massachusetts and received her law degree from Yale Law School in Connecticut. She also earned an executive education certificate from the Aresty Institute at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, as well as a certificate in Leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from Northwestern University.
“If we think of living our values, we really are trying to support equal treatment … we want all of our patients to have a similarly wonderful experience with OhioHealth, and we want all of our patients’ families to have a similarly wonderful experience. We want to make sure we live that equitable experience.”
Clark Christian and her husband have three children. She enjoys baking, traveling, the arts and mentoring and has long supported various programs to help female college students and girls from underprivileged areas grow into strong, intelligent and independent women. She and her family will reside in Blacklick.
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