Exit Interviews as Another Significant Communication Channel

Richard P. Kusserow | January 2020

Understanding the Objectives, Challenges, and Use of Exit Interviews Is Critical

One of the first things the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) looks for in investigations of organizations is turnover in key fiduciary positions. This includes senior management, general counsel, internal audit, finance, etc. Those organizations that have ethical or legal problems in the way they are operating often have unusual turnover of key personnel in a position that knows or senses the direction of company activities. People operating in an environment conducive to abuse of laws, regulations, or unethical conduct are confronted with the decision to become part of the problematic behavior, try and ignore it, become a “whistleblower,” or leave the offending environment. Most people offended by the activities generally look for a way out by leaving. Investigators have learned to look for these patterns of high turnover in key areas, as it is confirming evidence that something is probably wrong. These former employees are a useful resource to gain understanding of the conduct that drove them to seek employment elsewhere and are among the first to be interviewed for evidence and leads. Former employees can also be useful resources for compliance officers in gaining an understanding of the reasons for seeking employment elsewhere and understanding what they are likely to say once they leave.

Reprinted from Journal of Health Care Compliance, Volume 22, Number 1, January–February 2020, pages 41–44, with permission from CCH and Wolters Kluwer.

About the Author

Richard P. Kusserow established Strategic Management Services, LLC, after retiring from being the DHHS Inspector General, and has assisted over 2,000 health care organizations and entities in developing, implementing and assessing compliance programs.