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The worsening economy is taking its toll even on the best practices.
The worsening economy is taking its toll even on the best practices. With the national unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, it’s not unexpected that your staff members might get a little concerned about the security of their jobs. Especially when your new patient count is down and there are pot holes in what use to be a crammed appointment schedule.
Staff costs account for as much as 30 percent of practice overhead in some specialties, so it makes sense that physicians will start to look for ways to shave a little off this expense when revenue takes a dip. At the same time, when you start tightening your practice’s belt, it’s predictable that staff members will begin to feel insecure about their future.
Before your staff starts talking among themselves and second guessing actions you might take, have an honest conversation with them about both your concerns and intentions. If production is down or costs are creeping up it’s time to talk about it.
You may need to tell staff members that overtime is unavailable and raises are on hold for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give them a little hope for the future. Brainstorm on what solutions might be viable. Ask for their suggestions on how to beef up revenue and cut expenses. Here are just a few ideas to get the discussion going:
In a bad economy, the most important thing is to communicate honestly with your staff. Help them feel a sense of control by having them participate in the solutions that will help your practice stay afloat during difficult times.
Judy Capkois a healthcare consultant and author of the popular books "Secrets of the Best Run Practices" and "Take Back Time." Based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., she is a national speaker on healthcare topics. She can be reached at 805 499 9203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.