Our previous two articles have explored what to do when you purchase a practice, including retaining patients and starting to make the practice your own.
Part 3 of this series explores an equally important, concurrent task: ensuring that your office staff—whether new or rehired from the previous practice—is up-to-speed with all aspects of the practice. When all of the employees are working together to make the office efficient and well organized, patients feel more secure in the treatment that they are receiving and the information that they are provided with.
The best way to do this is to make sure that everyone is on the same page by:
- Having an Employee Handbook: All staff will then have access to the same information about:
- Policies (vacation, time off, etc.);
- Job Responsibilities;
- Expectations of Conduct and Workplace Rules (internet use, etc.);
- HIPAA Compliance; and
- Providing Training: This is especially important if you are going to be using new software. Staff training becomes imperative—all staff who work with patients should understand how the software works so that the office runs smoothly and patients receive the best care and service.
- Ensuring HIPAA Compliance: A complete office training by a HIPAA expert is important for all staff members, particularly in practices that have been operating for a long time. HIPAA mandates that patient information is protected unless expressed written permission to share is provided directly by the patient or their legal representative. Little things that compromise HIPAA compliance cannot be overlooked such as:
- Leaving patient charts on a desk or in a plastic holder on an office door for others to see;
- Computer screens that face the waiting room; or
- Calling names aloud, etc.
It is common practice for the newly acquired practice to be augmented with state-of-the-art technology, which may include new software programs, a new computer system or even new equipment. Although some staff members may resist any type of change, it is important that the physician provide training and resources to help the employee(s) learn and embrace the new system which will prepare them for their job and overall, create a more conducive work environment.
If over time individuals cannot, or refuse to, adapt to a new system and is not performing their job functions, then the physician may have cause to terminate the employment relationship.
Particularly with a mix of rehired and new staff members, the physician’s role is to create unity as one working office. When staff members feel supported and properly trained, a cohesive and well-run office results.
Contact me today with questions or comments.
Stephanie J. Rodin, Esq.
Rodin Legal, P.C.
Tel: (917) 345-8972
Fax: (917) 591-4428