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READER TIPS

Separate room for schedulers calms front office chaos

A few years ago, a North Carolina pediatric practice realized that the front desk is not the best place to check people in, make return appointments, and…


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RISK MANAGEMENT

How to tell when a job candidate or staffer is lying to you

Whether interviewing a job candidate or talking with a staffer about an occurrence in the office, the manager needs to know how to tell who’s telling the truth and…


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MANAGING THE OFFICE

Electronic cigarettes: why your practice needs a “vaping” policy now

Your employment policies address cigarettes, and so you think you have the smoking issue covered. Well, think again. Electronic cigarettes have created new challenges for employers.
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, first became available in the United States in 2006 and have grown in popularity. Designed to look like cigarettes, they are battery-powered devices, usually made of plastic or metal, that convert liquid nicotine into a mist, or…

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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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MANAGING STAFF

Are you violating state “time off” requirements for employees who are parents?

Although back-to-school season rolls around every year, it always seems to bring a level of stress for working parents. And is it any wonder?
A new schedule and new commitments require finding ways to meet all the demands of daily life. For households with two working parents, it can be extremely difficult; and for single-parent households, even more so.
It’s easy for employers and managers to dismiss the issue as “not my problem,” but, in reality, it is your problem. Like it or not, the line between personal and professional life got…

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COMPLIANCE

Beware these 2 deadly employment law traps

Beware. The government has stepped up its efforts to protect employee rights.
Two areas of particular interest to medical offices are disability discrimination and retaliation against protected activities such as discussing wages and work conditions.
The agencies involved are the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the National Labor Relations Board.
But it’s not just an agency audit that the manager needs to be prepared for, says Susana Knutson Gibbons, an employment law attorney with Poyner Spruill in Raleigh, NC.
In the tight economy, employees are taking a…

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COMPLIANCE

Same-sex marriage ruling brings in new legal issues

Plus new emphasis on discrimination
Though it applies only to states where same-sex marriage is legal, the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage warrants attention from managers in all states. For those in Washington, DC, and the 13 states where gay marriage is recognized, there are new employment law requirements. For those in all the other states, the ruling calls for increased emphasis on nondiscrimination.
A matter of two rulings
In a nutshell, the decision, which came down June 26, says that in states where same-sex marriage is recognized…

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HEALTH CARE REFORM

Health reform’s delay on the employer mandate raises lots of questions

There’s a new delay in health care reform.
It’s a one-year postponement of what’s known as the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
That mandate says large employers, or those with 50 or more full-time employees, have to provide health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty. Originally, the requirement was supposed to take effect this coming January. Now the date is pushed back to 2015. That gives larger employers a year’s grace before they have to provide health insurance that meets government standards…

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