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READER TIPS

PTO gives unquestioned days off plus a bank for catastrophes

The standard days-off policy has two downfalls, says the office manager of a six-physician, 16-staff office in North Carolina. One is that it isn’t fair, because some people abuse the sick leave and turn it into extra vacation days. The other is that keeping track of how long each person has been out and for what is a nightmare. So the office manager moved to a paid-time-off policy that gives staff a certain number of hours to use however they want. It also allows them to build up time in a catastrophic bank.
For the first five years of employment, staff get 160 hours per year, or 20 days of sick and vacation time. After five years, they can add eight hours per year up to a…

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READER TIPS

A teacher planning book is enough for complete hospital visit notes

It’s worked for years. It costs less than $10. And with it, practice manager Patricia Russell has never missed posting a single hospital or nursing home visit.
It’s a teacher’s daily plan book. And for any physician who doesn’t use a digital device for note taking, it’s the perfect solution for documenting out-of-office visits, says Russell who manages the internal medicine practice of George. R. Cox, MD, in Suffern, NY.
The books, which come from office supply stores, are spiral bound and have Monday-through-Friday columns plus an empty column that can be used for weekend visits. The columns go…

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READER TIPS

Weekly applause sheet creates positive attitude among staff

Any office experiences negative feelings among staff. But Sharon Hunter, manager of Granbury Internal Medical Associates in Granbury, TX, found a positive and lasting solution to the problem.
It’s what she terms an “applause sheet.” At the top of the page is the name of one staffer, and the directions are to write down “the most valuable qualities that person has.” The answers have to be things that benefit the office, not personal qualities such as that somebody is a good parent.
One staffer gets cited at each meeting, so everybody gets an applause week.
The form is just a half page in…

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READER TIPS

Creativity helps increase patient payments

If your practice is like most, it regularly struggles with patient payment issues.
Churchland Internal Medicine in Chesapeake, VA, has found a solution – actually several – to help resolve payment problems.
“In our office, when a patient is asked for a payment on a balance and does not pay, we set up a payment agreement,” says Linda Warren, office manager.
Then, the office takes it a couple of steps further. “The one thing which I feel works is…

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READER TIPS

Virginia manager uses contests to help turn staff into a team

A new manager set building staff teamwork as her first goal. And she decided that the best way to reach that goal was to make it…


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READER TIPS

New York OB/GYN practice discovers 2 astonishingly easy ways to pull in more patients

A one-physician OB/GYN practice that opened in the last decade reached its patient census goals almost immediately using nothing but common-sense marketing. It became so busy, in fact, that it is now open an additional two nights a week plus Saturday mornings.
The marketing has focused on two elements.
First is no waiting. “We’ve had patients transfer here just because they know they don’t have to wait to see the doctor,” says Chris Sini, manager for Michael H. Polcino, MD, in North Babylon, NY. “That’s especially important to working women.”
But what makes the office stand out is the second element, which is patient comfort.
The doctor and Sini came from a 10-physician office “that had become almost…

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