Raising the bar on ethical culture

Express Scripts recognized for best practices in corporate ethics, governance
By Michael Biskey
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/20/2015

In 2014, Express Scripts was recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent centre of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance. The award recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on corporate ethical leadership. 


Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (25 per cent); reputation, leadership and innovation (20 per cent); governance (10 per cent); corporate citizenship and responsibility (25 per cent); and culture of ethics (20 per cent).


“The entire community of World’s Most Ethical Companies believe that customers, employees, investors and regulators place a high premium on trust and that ethics and good governance are key in earning it. Express Scripts joins an exclusive community committed to driving performance through leading business practices,” says Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich.


From our call centre to our pharmacy and executive offices, each Express Scripts Canada employee works to earn customers’ trust with a steadfast commitment to ethical behaviour, good governance and top-notch service to clients and patients. 


So, how do we demonstrate our commitment? First, we drive an ethics-based culture. We are committed to conducting business ethically while following applicable laws, rules and regulations. Our compliance program is designed to prevent, detect and address unlawful and unethical behaviour.


A clearly communicated set of values called “Express Way” drives our work: We act honestly and demonstrate integrity at all times. Of course, we are all accountable for following the law, as well as company policies and procedures. However, the responsibility doesn’t end there — we also have a duty to report any compliance concerns. Each employee knows his actions make a difference. 


Code of conduct 

The employee code of conduct, which guides employees’ behaviours, is reviewed and updated each year, and employees must successfully pass an annual training program.


Well-defined rules govern any activity with the potential to undermine the trust placed in us. For example, with the holidays just behind us, it is worth looking at employee policies in regard to gifts from clients. 


At Express Scripts, employees are permitted to accept tickets or an invitation to an entertainment event only if the following conditions are met: 


•Pre-approval is received from the employee’s manager. 


•If the value of the entertainment is over $100, pre-approval is also received from the compliance department.


•The tickets or invitations are used by employees, not by a guest or spouse (though a guest or spouse may attend at the employee’s cost).


•The business partner providing the entertainment attends the event with the employee.


•The ticket or invitation is not given in the form of cash or a cash equivalent such as a gift card or gift certificate.

•The ticket or invitation is given occasionally or infrequently.


Employees are required to complete and submit a gift form to the compliance department within five days of receiving any gift or entertainment valued in excess of $25. If the value of the gift or entertainment exceeds $100, compliance department approval is required.


Ensuring that the Express Scripts workforce is familiar with all aspects of the compliance program is the key to its success. Among other activities, the compliance department hosts an annual Compliance Awareness Day to promote awareness and gauge the overall effectiveness of the program.


Privacy protection

As a pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts’ commitment to upholding privacy legislative requirements and protections is especially important. 


To embed an appropriate culture of privacy protection within the organization, we provide mandatory annual training that covers current privacy requirements for protected health information and personally identifiable information.


Privacy vigilance is a value that guides our daily work and future planning. We strive to continually meet the challenges associated with protecting the personal health information entrusted to us by clients. 


We train all employees (permanent, contract, full-time and part-time) to safeguard this kind of information, as well as what steps to follow in the unlikely case of a breach.


Finally, the audit team and compliance team conduct and monitor various audits, track training compliance and other key information. This information is provided directly to the compliance committee of the Express Scripts board of directors.  


 Saying we are an ethical company isn’t enough — integrity is the compass that guides everything we do. 


Michael Biskey is president of Express Scripts Canada, headquartered just outside Toronto. For more information, visit www.express-scripts.ca.

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