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MANAGING STAFF

Exit interviews: You might be surprised by what you learn

By Lynne Curry bio “Good riddance” the supervisor mutters the day his employee leaves.  As the practice manager, however, you have doubts. “Kate” is the third employee who’s resigned from your practice in the last eighteen months. All three worked for “Jim.” If you want to learn the truth, you need to talk to these employees who’ve chosen to leave – before they carry away the answers you need. Here’s how. Let each resigning employee know you’d consider it a gift to the employee’s coworkers and you to learn his or her thoughts about working in your organization.  If the employee worries about potential retribution, find out why and offer to hold the information you learn confidential. You can also allay any fears the employees may have by offering to… . . . read more.

COVID-19

What do I say to patients who ask about my team’s vaccination status?

By Paul Edwards bio As vaccinations continue to be distributed to more and more members of the American workforce, one of the recurring questions we are getting concerns how to respond to patients who ask about whether or not your team has been vaccinated. Patients might pose this question over the phone before their scheduled appointment, or might ask it to one of your employees during their visit. Your employees’ health information is protected In response to such a question, it’s important to remember that your employees’ personal health information is protected in just the same way as your patients’ health information. Therefore, it is generally not a good idea to offer information to your patients that might expose any of your employees’ inability (or unwillingness) to get vaccinated. If… . . . read more.

INCREASING PROFITS

The physician enterprise model: a non-employment alternative

By John W. McDaniel bio Hospitals are seeking new and innovative ways to affiliate with physicians that differ from tactics used in the 1990s, These new relationships involve a more formal type of relationship with physicians, which might reflect lessons learned through previous less‐than‐satisfactory relationships. Most hospitals have physician integration strategies as a part of their long‐range plans, but because physicians employed by hospitals lose approximately $190,000 per year, hospitals and health systems must explore alternatives to physician affiliation aside from the traditional employment model. Beyond employment Affiliation is sought for various reasons. Large hospitals seek a wider reach into communities, while small and rural hospitals seek help with physician recruitment, which has been troublesome over the past years due to 84% of senior medical residents desiring to practice in… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

Post-pandemic period a chance to try flexible staffing strategies

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 hit our northern U.S. practice hard. We cut employees, then salaries, and then we cut again. Our revenue is down 70%. Some administrative staffers left our state when their spouses’ high-paying jobs evaporated. Others in billing took off when COVID-19 combined with our cold, dark winter proved too much. Because these employees had talents we needed, we kept them as “snowbirds”. At first, it didn’t cause trouble. Everyone was working from home, so it didn’t matter where “home” was. Now that we’ve moved administrative staff back into the medical office building, our local employees complain about the snowbirds. They feel the fair weather staff get an unfairly sweet deal, as they don’t have to show up at 8 a.m. or handle the sanitizing tasks our… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Mandatory COVID vaccination: new guidance & update

By Lynne Curry bio Can employers require their employees to receive COVID-vaccinations? While vaccination is one of an employer’s best tools for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks at their worksites, requiring employees to be vaccinated and disciplining them if they refuse comes with legal risks. Although the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s December 2020 guidelines stated that employers could implement and enforce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for certain jobs and with certain exceptions1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that recipients of vaccines under an “emergency use authorization” (which includes the current COVID vaccines) must be informed that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccination. For more detail on this federal agency contradiction, see https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/01/covid-vaccination-update-in-light-of-the-vaccines-emergency-use-authorization-status/ “The current problem,” says Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “is that many… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

What medical office managers need to know about HIPAA

By Jordan MacAvoy bio The Health Information Portability and Protection Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996. The regulation stipulates standards that healthcare organizations and vendors must adhere to when it comes to patients’ protected health information (PHI). HIPAA-beholden organizations must secure their PHI for them to gain compliance status. Healthcare organizations and their vendors must appoint a HIPAA manager to oversee the implementation of the compliance program. If your organization has any HIPAA obligations and you get selected for this role, you should be aware of those regulations and what they mean to your business. Here’s what you should know as an office manager. Who are the covered entities? “Covered entities” refer to health insurers, healthcare providers, and any other professional individuals/organizations that handle patients’ medical information in the course… . . . read more.

Telecommuting

Cybersecurity risks rise when medical admin staff work from home

By Ron Slyker The number of people who work from home has slowly increased from year to year. In 2020 that number skyrocketed as companies including medical offices were forced to implement telecommuting policies. Making the transition from traditional office to home office has brought some challenges, but arguably the most challenging aspect of the process has been maintaining cybersecurity. Now in 2021 the need for remote worker security is more important than ever. Keep yourself safe with network security assessments Employees who work from home are more susceptible to cyber threats than employees who work in the office. The reason is businesses can afford enterprise-level cybersecurity services. The average home not only does not have access to this level of security but may also lack basic security measures. When working from… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New rules for wellness programs & marijuana legal in more places

By Mike O’Brien bio Employment law continues to change rapidly with a change in federal government administration and the continuing pandemic. As manager of a medical office, it’s just one more thing to keep up with. Here are a few recent developments.  New rules coming for employer wellness programs On Jan. 7, 2021, the EEOC issued proposed rules related to what incentives employers can offer as part of wellness programs. The new rules come in response to a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that vacated a portion of the EEOC’s previous ADA and GINA regulations. HIPAA allows employers to offer incentives up to 30 percent of the total cost of health insurance to encourage participation in certain types of wellness programs. However, the ADA… . . . read more.

COVID-19

What do we do about employees who refuse vaccinations?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: What do we do if our employees refuse to get vaccinated? Several dozen employees have stated they don’t want the vaccine, as doctors don’t know enough about the vaccine’s long-term side effects. They point out that the Food and Drug Administration sanctioned the vaccines through an emergency use authorization procedure and rushed the vaccines through. We run a mid-sized company.  Our management team read your Dec. 21 post about mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies. https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/12/mandatory-covid-vaccinations-the-rules/ Now that vaccinations are starting, we’re considering a mandatory policy for safety reasons. How are other employers handling this? Answer: As a management team, you’re not alone in your concerns. Surveys by both the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Pew reveal that 21% to 24% of U.S. adults “will not get… . . . read more.

STAFF MANAGEMENT

Try skip-level meetings to get straight answers

By Lynne Curry bio Question: The three of us run a mid-sized practice. Despite the pandemic, we’re doing well. We’re hiring, in part because we’re growing, and in part because we’ve had resignations. We don’t understand why so many employees have resigned since mid-October. We have a bright future, but sense we have a problem. As we don’t know what it is, we can’t fix it. It’s not that our employees are choosing unemployment; they’re leaving for jobs in other practices. We’ve tried to exit interview the employees who’ve quit, but only reached two of them. Both said negative things, but when we brought what they’d said up with their former managers, the managers convinced us we’d talked to disgruntled employees whom they’d disciplined for performance problems. We’ve tried an… . . . read more.


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