You are the finance manager in a long term care facility that is struggling to remain solvent. The facility’s administrator has hired a consultant to work with you to increase Medicaid reimbursement. The consultant recommends that you be more “liberal” in coding the severity of residents’ needs to justify greater reimbursement. The consultant tells you, “everybody does it” and, “it’s an undetectable way to boost revenue”.
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You believe this approach is somewhere between inappropriate and illegal. You know the consultant is being paid on a commission and is an old college buddy of the facility administrator. You also recognize that your facility could soon go out of business and leave you without a job.
It is important to note that the given case involves one’s both personal ethics and professional codes of conduct. Personal ethics can be defined as a person’s belief and values on moral aspects of something being right or wrong (Griffin et al., 2017). Therefore, in order to properly assess the case, one should be able to combine both personal ethics and professional ethics in order to act in the best interests of all parties in the most ethical manner.
Ethical Challenges and Options
The case is designed or set up in such a manner, where becoming more “liberal” with reimbursement will benefit both company and me, as a financial manager, since I will not lose my job and the organization will not go out of business. Therefore, ethical elements aside, my interests revolve around heeding the consultant’s advice on being more “liberal” with the reimbursements. If I were to disregard the core principles of ethics, my option would be to increase the reimbursement rates and save the organization from failure as well as advance my own interest by keeping my job and position and even potentially be promoted for being a rescuer of the organization.
However, it is important to point out that the very thing that makes one ethical and morally righteous is the fact that he or she is willing to adhere to both the personal code and professional code despite personal interests, which can also be extended to the organization’s interests (Brooks & Dunn, 2020). Therefore, I only have a single option of not becoming more “liberal” with Medicaid reimbursement.
Course of Action
The correct and proper course of action will be to dismiss the consultant’s advice on being more “liberal” with reimbursements. For example, the professional code of ethics for finance professionals clearly states that one needs to “comply with applicable government laws, rules and regulations of federal, state and local governments and other appropriate regulatory agencies” (“Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics for Finance Professionals,” 2021).
Since I believe that the consultant’s advice is somewhere between inappropriate and illegal, I will not heed his recommendations. The latter statement is supported by another key point, the professional code of ethics for finance professionals, which states that one must “carry out their responsibilities honestly, in good faith and with integrity, due care, and diligence, exercising at all times their best independent judgment” (“Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics for Finance Professionals,” 2021). In other words, my judgment tells me that such action is somewhat illegal, which indicates that the recommendation must not be followed.
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Result of Action
The organization will probably go out of business, and I will most likely lose my job or position as a finance manager. Although it is a personally undesirable outcome, the only possible preventative measure involves a violation of ethical standards, which means no plausible approach is available. Despite the negative outcome, I am in no position to change it since I am bound to oblige and adhere to my own personal ethics and professional ethics.
In conclusion, it is important to be aware that one’s personal interests or organizational interests play a little role in determining a course of action if the options include violation of core ethical principles. The case is illustrative of the fact that one should be willing to lose one’s job and fail to save an organization in order to continue upholding ethical codes. Otherwise, ethical principles will no longer be as such if one can abandon them as soon as they go against one’s interests.
Brooks, L. J., & Dunn, P. (2020). Business and professional ethics. Cengage Learning.
Griffin, J. M., Kruger, S., & Maturana, G. (2017). Do personal ethics influence corporate ethics? SSRN Electronic Journal, 166(33), 16268-16273. Web.