11.10.06 - Issue # 244 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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The Importance of a Job Description with Accountability When Hiring Front Office Personnel—
A Tale of Two Business Managers

Dear Belle,

After receiving my Advanced Front Office Training, I have begun modernizing filing systems, purging the paper files and making necessary additions to the computer software systems to better manage data.  I am tightening up the AR and it has improved significantly.  My problem is Marsha, the receptionist, who was here when I started.  She was told that I am the manager and that she is to follow my direction. However, she has a negative attitude about learning any of the new systems that I have learned during my training with you and wants to keep doing things “her way”.  The doctors say I have free choice in this matter and it is up to me.  What do you think?


Dear Sharon,

Perhaps Marsha feels “left out” since she did not attend the training.  Coming from you it may not have the same influence as coming from me.  I would be happy to have a conference with her on the phone and explain the systems and the goals of productivity and eliminating stress.  It is important that you have a firm understanding of each other’s job duties and have separate areas of accountability.  Marsha will feel like she plays an important role in the practice and that she is not your “assistant.”  Marsha needs to understand there is a better way and in order to take the practice to a higher level, she needs to cooperate.  Write out the new systems and train Marsha to do them as instructed.  If she continues to undermine your efforts, you may give her a written warning with a timeline to show improvement.  If she still continues the negative behavior, you may put her on probation with a timeline to improve.  If it continues, then termination is the unfortunate answer. Please check with your state employment separation rules before establishing a disciplinary process.


The Outcome:

Marsha did feel left out when not included in the training.  She admitted to having a “chip” on her shoulder and to being resistant to change. After being told that she could have one-on-one time with me, her attitude changed and she wanted to be a part of the new goals.  A definitive job description with areas that were Marsha’s responsibility gave her direction and a feeling of “ownership.” 

Dear Belle,

As you know, Dr. Toths hired me because I have a Business Degree and have worked as an account manager in an upscale financial institution for five years.  I am accustomed to acquiring financing for people and am used to dealing with larger accounts than we have here in our office.  Dr. Toths wants to do more high-end cosmetic cases and thought that I would be an asset.  So why am I not doing what I was hired to do?  I have no desk area or a definite designated space.  I carry my briefcase from place to place in the office like a nomad.  I was supposed to replace a woman that is retiring but she is still here and she is not being “phased out” of the practice like I was told she would be.  She has made a mess of the AR.  I get it when it is 90 days old and she has given up.  I have a written job description but I am not accountable for it because she is still in charge.  I like this job and I have added some great systems, thanks to your help, but I can’t operate without a desk.  Help!!!!!!


Dear Katarina,

During the training with you, I recall that you have excellent verbal skills and when we did some role-playing you were very smooth with your presentation.  You are “chomping at the bit” and nowhere to run at this point.  Your CEO doctor knows that you are an asset, however, he is suffering from a common fear of change.  He feels loyalty to the woman who is supposed to be retiring, Minga, but he knows that she does not have the formal training to take the practice where he wants it to go.  He is also aware that Minga, is “friendly” with the patients to the point of letting their account balances get beyond their ability to pay back.  I will be happy to assist you in having a meeting to establish your role in the office and to further cement this role by insisting that you have a designated work area.  If Minga is to remain, she needs a written job description with areas of accountability clearly defined.  You will be in charge of Financial Arrangements for all patients and follow-up on AR.  Minga’s position will be that of Scheduling Coordinator.  This will eliminate Minga from making “emotional” financial arrangements.

The Outcome:

Katarina, Minga and I had a meeting with her employer and he liked the idea of the new job description for Minga and taking her out of the treatment financing.  At first Minga was put off by the change but actually liked not having to deal with the finances anymore and agreed to take direction in this area from Katarina.  Katarina was given a special corner of the business office and was able to unpack her briefcase.

Is your office an “emotional” battleground?  Successful systems and professionally trained Front Office Employees are the answer.

For more information on McKenzie's Advanced Training for Front Office and Office Managers, email training@mckenziemgmt.com, call `1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at http://www.mckenziemgmt.com/.

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