The Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD) hosted a virtual board meeting on Tuesday evening where a number of topics were tackled. One such topic was the approval of a code of ethics and guiding principles.
SEUHD’s Bradon Bradford explained that this has been something they have thought about for a while, but the fraud risk assessment really brought it to a forefront. The assessment indicated that in order to be considered a low-risk agency for committing fraud, one of the elements that is needed is to have a code of ethics.
Many different organizations have a code of ethics and they range from fairly short to upwards of 15 pages worth of explanations. The code of ethics that was being proposed for the SEUHD, according to Bradford, is very similar to one that Tooele County shared with them.
He continued by explaining that the code highlights important elements that he asks himself and wants the employees to consider as well. Bradford acknowledged that signing something such as the code does not make anything ironclad, but he believes that it does help. He said it is something to review with the staff and ask them to sign annually.
Bradford stated that this is a step in the right direction of reenforcing ethical behavior in the workplace. Not only would employees sign the code of ethics each year, but the board members would sign as well. Ultimately, the code of ethics was approved by the board.
The fraud risk assessment was also reviewed, with an explanation to the board that last year the SEUHD was in the high category for fraud risk. This year, they scored 320 points, in part due to the code of ethics that had just been approved, and that moved them into the low category.
Other things that the SEUHD did throughout the year to assist in the higher score on the assessment was creating a fraud hotline and an email address where fraud can be reported. It was stated that they do not have a formal audit committee, but work with some of the other local health departments and audit one another.
Another thing that the SEUHD could do to increase its score and move into the very low risk category would be for all of the board members to complete the training that is provided by the auditor office.