Georgios Papakostas, Compliance Officer of Siemens Healthineers Greece, shares with Kathimerini some insights about the way in which the Siemens Healthineers Compliance system is built up and what are the benefits for an organization having established a Compliance System.
What are the components of the Compliance System at Siemens Healthineers?
Siemens Healthineers Compliance System is composed of three levels: Prevent, Detect, and Respond. We focus on preventive measures like communication, training, and clear regulations which are valid for everybody. Essential business transactions are reviewed thoroughly regarding Compliance risks, prior to execution. Should there still be violations of applicable law, we will investigate the circumstances comprehensively in a fair procedure and then take appropriate disciplinary measures, as deemed necessary.
Siemens Healthineers Compliance System covers the areas hereunder:
Is a code of Ethics established at Siemens Healthineers?
The heart and soul of our Compliance System are the Business Conduct Guidelines, which establish the binding rules of conduct for all employees towards each other as well as towards the integrity of our business. All Siemens Healthineers, have to understand Compliance as part of their own tasks; with management bearing the responsibility for the correct conduct of the team members.
What about third parties? Is there a risk assessment approach in place?
We work with partners like sales agents, distributors, and customs agents to sell products and services. Our aim is to make sure that all our Business partners work with a high level of transparency and integrity comparable to ours. Therefore, we carefully select our partners and achieve transparency through a due diligence check followed by continuous training and monitoring. Our company-wide established internal Business Partner Tool helps ensure that all processes are implemented and lived without exception. In this sense we developed a Code of Conduct for suppliers based on the UN Global Compact and the principles of the International Labor Organization that is also reflected in our Business Conduct Guidelines which are binding for all employees of Siemens Healthineers.
Are any actions taken, any initiatives driven, or any forces joined with other stakeholders on fighting corruption?
We are working together with various interest groups to build an alliance against corruption. We approach and resolve the problem from multiple angles with the ultimate goal of creating fair and equal market conditions – a “level playing field” – for all market players and eliminating the temptations of corruption for all. We call it “Collective Action” at Siemens Healthineers, and it aims to bring more opportunities to cooperate with alliances in the healthcare industry, to improve the compliance environment, and to benefit all – not only market players, but also healthcare professionals and patients. We do this for example by being member of the trade association MedTech Europe and actively working on the MedTech Europe Code of Ethical business Practice.
What about reporting a misconduct? Is there a whistle-blowing channel?
We provide several reporting channels to internal and external whistle-blowers to inform us about possible compliance violations. “Let Us Know” is our secure channel for reporting non-compliant or otherwise problematic actions 24 hours a day: online, anonymously if desired, and in several languages including Greek. We protect the identity of whistle blowers and follow-up on these reports. In addition, employees and third parties can confidentially and anonymously confide to the Siemens Healthineers Ombudswoman any improper business practice in the company they observe.
What are the benefits of operating a Compliance System?
Α Compliance System can support an organization to minimize potential risks, build trust with its customers, contribute to organization’s development, avoid reputational damage, and ensure organization’s sustainability.