Staff Incentives

November 1, 2008

I would like to learn about incentive pay programs for nursing staff, billing staff, and receptionists for a large pediatric practice.

Question: I would like to learn about incentive pay programs for nursing staff, billing staff, and receptionists for a large pediatric practice.

Answer: Well, here’s a model I saw recently that I really like:

It’s a two-part system: First, staff members receive a revenue bonus if the practice collects a preset dollar amount (or more), which goes up over time. Twelve percent of any amount over the goal goes back to the employees. Of that 12 percent, half is divided equally among staff, and the other half is distributed based on staff members’ anonymous evaluations of each other. You can see how this approach keeps your staff focused on revenue collection and encourages a team environment.

The second part is based on patient satisfaction survey results. Each staff member receives $50 if all patients surveyed in a given period say they would recommend the practice to others. I like this because it builds teamwork.

Other programs are geared to reward the success of specific staff members. For example, billers may receive extra cash or a profit share if collections are up.

Beware: You will get what you pay for. I’ve seen practices give their billers incentives to work faster. As a result, more claims went out, but so did more errors, causing total accounts receivable to drop - not what you want.

Reward your employees only for what they can control. For example, in the profit-sharing program mentioned above, the practice divides its top-line revenues or collections. The staff has little control over costs, so the practice doesn’t base the bonus program on net revenue.

Keep it as simple as possible, and keep it as public as possible; competition works. Set the rules clearly, and then stick to them for a prescribed amount of time. You can establish temporary programs for defined periods, but don’t give your staff a goal and then move the goal line mid-season.