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BILLING & COLLECTIONS

Model Policy: Patient billings, collection and financial

Why you need this policy:

Doctors have every right—and need—to be paid. But getting patients to pay their bills on time is a major challenge that forces you to confront a bewildering array of regulatory requirements, managed care and insurance contracts, and ethical constraints stemming from the doctor-patient relationship.


TERMINATION

Model Policy: Progressive discipline and employee termination

Why you need this policy:

There’s no point in having any policies, procedures, and standards unless you’re prepared to discipline employees who disobey them. The problem is that discipline is not only unpleasant but likely to result in some form of legal grievance, especially if the employee belongs to a union. That means you’ll end up having to defend your action before an arbitrator or court.

MANAGING PATIENTS

Model Policy: Patient scheduling and appointments

Why you need this policy:

Getting patients to properly make and honor their appointments is a challenge faced by just about all practices. Although no-shows, walk-ins, and late appointments can’t totally be prevented, establishing a clear set of ground rules for the making and keeping of appointments can minimize them and establish your right to charge fees and take other appropriate actions in response.

RISK MANAGEMENT

Model Policy: Medications error reporting

Why you need this policy:

Medications errors are among the medical issues for which medical practices must implement Quality Assurance (QA) standards, policies, and procedures. Although the objective is to prevent such errors, practices also must be prepared to respond effectively should they occur.

 

MANAGING STAFF

Model Policy: Computer use and social networking

Why you need this policy:

The law governing your right to discipline employees for the things they say on blogs and social networks is still in its infancy stages. But even from the early cases, it has become clear that online conversations are not simply private matters. There’s a big difference between bad-mouthing a company, supervisor or colleague to a friend over coffee and making those remarks in a blog or correspondence on an external social network like Facebook.

MANAGING PATIENTS

Model Policy: Patients’ rights and responsibilities

Why you need this policy:

One of the things that makes service delivery so tricky is that medical patients aren’t just customers or consumers of services; they’re a partner in a collaboration designed to ensure their health. At least they should be. Although it might be self-evident to you and your physicians, not all patients appreciate that treatment is a collaboration. So it’s incumbent on you to make this clear at the very outset.

MANAGING PATIENTS

Model Policy: Patient termination

Why you need this policy:

There are lots of legitimate reasons to want to terminate a patient. In the best case scenario, termination makes sense when the patient is “cured” and no longer needs to see the doctor. More often than not, termination is necessitated by less favorable changes in medical conditions and often for aspects of the relationship having nothing to do with treatment—like a patient’s violence, theft and other inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately, as a matter of law and ethics, terminating a patient isn’t a simple matter.

RISK MANAGEMENT

Model Policy: OSHA bloodborne pathogens exposure control

Why you need this policy:

All medical practices need infection control policies and procedures. And with regard to one particular form of infection—bloodborne pathogens that get into the bloodstream via puncture or piercing by contaminated needles or other medical sharps—QA measures must include a specific exposure control policy that meets the requirements of the federal workplace safety law called OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Act)—specifically, the regulation or “standard” dealing with bloodborne pathogens.


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