Director, Regulatory Compliance

Kathy N
Kathy is Director, Regulatory Compliance for Medxcel, and has been with Medxcel for 9 years. In her current role, she oversees teams of compliance directors who assess survey readiness for customers, and support management that provide compliance support throughout the company.
I am happiest spending time in the field, in the facilities we serve. I get a lot done when I’m in my home office but my favorite time is helping someone in the field get through something. Any time the field can give me a challenge, I absolutely love it.
 

Can you describe your role and the teams you oversee?

I lead two teams as Director, Regulatory Compliance. One of my teams consists of compliance directors, who manage current state health assessments and accreditation survey assessments for our client hospitals. My Manager of Regulatory Compliance leads a support management team that provides compliance support throughout the company. 
 
Generally speaking, our work entails ensuring healthcare facilities maintain a state of 24/7 readiness for regulatory surveys, so we do mock surveys, guidance and support to continuously improve their compliance scores. We also keep up with regulatory changes in our industry — what’s new, what’s coming up, what needs to be handled differently and what training needs to happen to keep our facilities compliant.
 

How does the work of the compliance team impact patient care?

Safety is huge for patients, it’s important that the facilities we support enhance their healing. We can’t do anything about what brought them to the hospital, but we don’t want their condition to worsen because of our buildings, or because the air pressure is wrong, or because there was a fire, for example. They shouldn’t have to worry about water systems, temperature, humidity, none of those things should be on their minds.
 

Describe the path you took to arrive in your current role.

I started as a coordinator for another healthcare company. They sent facility directors to school to get an engineering degree and I thought, hey, I’m interested in that. My boss agreed to be my sponsor and I earned my degree at Texas State Technical College. When I graduated the economy was not doing well, and hospitals suddenly didn’t have the money they used to have, and I was laid off. I went to work for another organization for nearly 25 years as a facility director and district manager, and just before I came to Medxcel I was assigned to a children’s hospital where I met some Medxcel leaders in my region. They told me about opportunities with Medxcel and I told them that I would watch the company for one year to see who they hired and how they did. 
 
At the one-year mark, I came over to Medxcel and said, “I want to work in compliance, it’s where my heart is.” I wanted to be in a position to help people. I started out as a support manager and worked my way up to manager of the support managers, and then director of the whole team over the last couple of years.
 
My heart is in operations — putting together training programs, understanding the impact on field associates, and how I can make it easier for them to come to our team for support. I love a challenge; give me a challenge and let me see what I can do to help out. For example, one hospital site came to me about a month ago and said, Kathy, we don’t have any remediation materials for our water management program. So, we put together a package for them, and realized all our sites need this package. We’re now rolling it out to other facilities through our support managers.
 
If one site has a question, there’s often many others that have the same question. We didn’t realize we were missing something until the field pointed it out.
 

What is the best part of your job?

I am happiest spending time in the field, in the facilities we serve. I get a lot done when I’m in my home office but my favorite time is helping someone in the field get through something. Any time the field can give me a challenge, I absolutely love it.
 

How does Medxcel support associates with training and development?

Our goal is for all our team members to get their CHFM (Certified Healthcare Facilities Manager). It’s a tough test with about a 36% pass rate. I earned mine during my first year, and then my team members have gradually completed theirs. 
 
Last year, we put a handful of associates through the Facilities Management Academy. They went to school for six weeks every Tuesday to prep for the exam, and Medxcel paid for it. They are each taking the exam when they feel ready. There are other certifications Medxcel supports and pays for, and two of our compliance directors are regulatory surveyors themselves. We take advantage of a lot of opportunities to train virtually if we can’t train in person. Most recently, I got my CHEPP (Certified Healthcare Emergency Power Professional) because I wanted to see how difficult it was, and I wanted to gauge if the training was worth putting my team through.
 
We invest in our associates’ development and try to hire from within. You can grow within Medxcel — not just vertically but into a new area of interest like safety.
 

How would you describe Medxcel culture?

For me, it’s really about… How do we get the best out of people? How do we take the skills they have, share them and help them grow? There are no barriers to your development and that’s been the best part, allowing people to shine.
 

Which of the Medxcel Core Values speak most to you?

Creativity speaks most to me. We have tight guidelines about what needs to be done, but how we get there is flexible — you have to get creative.


What would you say is the most unusual or interesting thing that's happened during your time at Medxcel?

I have lots of stories. I remember a hospital where we were partnering with a new team transitioning to Medxcel and they were feeling anxious about the change. A colleague and I spent a week with them and when we returned for our second week, we dressed in penguin costumes and talked about how penguins work as a team. We had a ball and went to meetings all day long in our penguin costumes. They laughed, took our picture, and it just broke the ice. 
 
Occasionally I still wear costumes in my monthly meetings — I have a whole hanging rack of costumes in my garage. Compliance can be a very boring, rule-driven subject, but if you can catch someone’s attention, you’ve got them hooked. The costumes are one way I express creativity in my job. At no point have Medxcel leaders said, “Kathy, do you need to look like that?” That speaks to our culture.
 

Would you recommend working at Medxcel?

Let me put it this way, I’m in my sixties but I don’t have a retirement date in sight because I still love my job.

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