Practice Management

By Perry, Kristie | Medical Economics, January 26, 1998 | Go to article overview

Practice Management


Perry, Kristie, Medical Economics


Easing a new staffer into her job

We've always asked new employees to start work on a Monday. Now my office manager says it's better to start them in the middle of the week, when things are less hectic. Is she right?

Yes. The calmer your office, the more time the office manager will have to orient the new employee.

An appropriate way to thank colleagues for referrals

A local FP has referred several patients to my Ob/Gyn practice. I'd like to thank her by taking her and her husband to dinner. Is this ethical?

It's fine, as long as it's a thank you, and you aren't pressuring her for more referrals.

When you want more money from a health plan

Because of our high patient-satisfaction scores and low utilization rates, my partners and I are convinced that we're in a position to ask the health plans we contract with for higher fees. How much more can we ask for without being laughed out of the boardroom? A 5 percent increase would be reasonable. Don't ask for an acrossthe-board raise, however. Instead, focus on the 20 or so CPT codes you use most frequently.

How to find a buyer for your practice

I'm ready to retire and want to sell my practice. Are there practice brokers who could find me a buyer and handle the sale? What would I have to pay?

Look in the classified ads in your medical journals to find practice brokers. Also ask for recommendations from your hospital or colleagues. Most brokers charge about 10 percent of whatever your practice sells for. Before settling on a broker, find out from your state medical society whether he has to be licensed; then check with the licensure agency. Also make sure he specializes in medical-practice sales.

Many practice management consultants also handle practice sales, typically for a fixed fee of $3,000 to $6,000. For a directory of members and services, call the National Association of HealthCare Consultants at 800-313-6242.

Whether you use a broker or a consultant, get someone who knows your local market. Interview candidates the same way you would a potential employee, and find out how many practice sales each has brokered.

Will another copy machine improve efficiency?

The receptionist for our two-doctor internal medicine practice has asked for a desktop copy machine for duplicating insurance cards and other insurance documents. She says she's too busy to make frequent trips to the machine around the corner, which is about 50 feet away from the reception window. When the copier is in use, she has to make another trip. Is indulging her request worth the expense and the desk space a new machine will take up?

The receptionist is needed full time at her work station. She shouldn't have to walk that far, that often, to copy insurance cards. But better than a desktop copier might be a plain-paper fax machine, which can be used as a copier. Then the receptionist can log in faxes without moving from her desk.

Setting up an informal purchasing group

In an effort to save money, some co! leagues and I would like to purchase office supplies as a group. Six practices of varying sizes and specialties are interested. We'd choose one to be in charge of taking and placing orders. This seems much simpler and less expensive than going through a management services organization. …

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