In this Q&A, Signify Health’s new compliance chief discusses how to start a remote team, the importance of trust in remote teams, and the value of culture.
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Erin Kelly has been appointed as the new chief compliance officer at healthcare technology company Signify Health Inc. During the pandemic, the business switched to telehealth, offering value-based payment schemes and in-home health assessments for clients such as healthcare plans and systems. The firm, which has locations in Dallas, Connecticut, and New York, is also seeking to grow.
According to a statement from Signify, Ms. Kelly was formerly senior legal counsel at CVS Health Corp., where she helped offer legal and regulatory advice for the company’s Medicare business.
She is a trained lawyer who has worked in the healthcare sector for the most of her career. She will work with three other individuals on Signify’s compliance risk management team, which is in charge of internal controls, training, and pushing technological projects.
According to the company’s annual report submitted in March, it had approximately 2,200 workers, with 2,100 working full-time. Signify filed for an IPO in January, and in addition to Ms. Kelly, they recruited a chief growth officer.
Ms. Kelly, who is located in Richmond, Virginia, and intends to go to Signify’s headquarters on a regular basis, talked with The Wall Street Journal about her new job and breaking into a new role remotely. The following are edited extracts.
WSJ: As a compliance officer, this is your first position. What drew you to the area of compliance?
Ms. Kelly: My 20-year experience as a lawyer has prepared me well for this position. The area in which I was working is very relevant to Signify and its clients, so I have a good understanding of the regulatory environment in which we operate. I’ve loved delving into complicated business processes and collaborating with the business team to create procedures and strategies that enable the company to achieve its objectives while being compliant.
I’ll be able to help in the creation of procedures and strategies that lead to realistic and compliant business solutions by knowing Signify’s business processes. I’ve had the privilege of working with people that are industry leaders in legal compliance, as well as in their respective business areas. And I’m definitely looking forward to using all I’ve learned and experienced to my new job at Signify.
WSJ: How did it feel to be onboarded as CCO from afar?
Ms. Kelly: Thank you. It’s been a hectic week. But thus far, I’m loving it. Compliance, in my opinion, is a company-wide obligation in which all of our workers play a part. A compliance program has been implemented. But, on top of that, I already work with a seasoned team of compliance, legal, and government relations experts. I’ve been meeting with the business team as well, doing virtual sessions. I’ll be collaborating with them to design and execute procedures and strategies.
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I believe we will return to the office at some time in the near future, and I want to be there in person to meet folks as a follow-up to our virtual sessions. And I want to do so on a regular basis.
I’ll be working from home, but I’ll be at the office on a regular basis. I believe that visibility is essential, but I also believe that we have an open culture here. We also offer a number of ways for individuals to submit issues [including hotlines for workers to call if they have any concerns]. As a result, we examine all complaints, regardless of how they were received.
WSJ: What are some of your first priorities?
Ms. Kelly: Thank you. I believe that using technology and establishing procedures, as well as possibly reducing risk, will help Signify expand as the company develops.
Our compliance program will evolve as the organization grows, and I’m excited to be a part of it. This will include the continued development and implementation of policies and procedures that align our business with applicable regulations and legal requirements, which I’m looking forward to being a part of.
Ethics, in my opinion, may play a critical role in corporate decision-making. Both an organization’s ethics and values may influence that approach, and I believe it should be discussed in situations where there isn’t clear legal advice or laws.
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