Important financial and compliance issues can be digested easily with a little planning. March is a good time to look at HR issues in your practice.
We started this particular series by providing a model outline of a medical practice legal and financial planning calendar. That calendar provided a sample of important issues a practice owner or manager might begin to organize and take control of in what seems to be an ever growing and increasingly onerous list.
Following the overview we started to share additional detail on each month and took a closer look at issues to start the year. Now that we are almost through the end of the first quarter, it's time to take a closer look at March:
As always, a great place to start is to complete any tasks still open from the previous months. If you are satisfied that they are either complete or well in process, I'd suggest that you plan a Human Resources review for the end of the first quarter to address any pressing issues.
These issues may be related to discipline, production, performance, or hopefully, something more positive, like promoting or moving an employee to a position where they can be most productive and happiest based on your observation. If you have a problematic or toxic employee it's time to set some firm boundaries on what you expect and what they need to do keep their job. Remember that employees who are not performing in any sense should be managed into what you need them to be, or managed out of the practice. Letting someone do less than their best, or at least what you need from them, is your failure as a manager as much as theirs as an employee.
From a more practical standpoint, in my practice of over a decade of dealing with these issues for doctors all over the United States, the majority of the most serious employment related liabilities, including lawsuits, that we have seen clients deal with came from employees who the doctor knew were a problem, in one way or another, and that had never been dealt with the right way. In some cases the doctor simply hadn't taken the time, in others it lingered on because the practice manager was conflict averse or had become "buddies" with the problem employee, allowing them to spread malaise and discontent through the whole office - ironically including the practice's best employees, who quickly grow to resent others that are allowed to work at a standard below what is expected of them.
Finally, check with the party responsible for your employee credentialing and compliance. Make sure they (or you) have done a full review of your staff, and personally review a list of all employees that require credentialing (and those that are excluded from this requirement) along with a time frame and outline of any action to be taken.
As we've previously discussed this is just a model, a hypothetical to illustrate how these important legal, financial, and compliance issues can be organized and digested easily with a little forethought and discipline. As always, the advice is general and should be tailored to your practice's specific needs and exposures.