When You Take Time Off

December 2, 2008
Donna Weinstock

What happens to your practice when you are out of the office? This is of particular relevance to solo practitioners.

What happens to your practice when you are out of the office? This is of particular relevance to solo practitioners. Whether you are at a seminar or on vacation, without patients being seen in the office, staff may have less to do. This is especially true in very small practices. Clinical staff especially may be affected since much of their time is spent seeing patients with the physician.

Many offices use the physician’s vacation time to have staff catch up, clean up, and organize. It is also a good time for additional training seminars. Perhaps you can train your staff to make collection calls and use this time to contact patients with outstanding balances.

A few offices have staff work at a reduced schedule. If this is the case in your office, there should be a policy for time off when you are out of the office. Staff members count on a continual salary and it is not fair to them to schedule them off without pay unless they know about it ahead of time. That means communicating with potential new hires upfront that their hours may be cut during your vacation times.

Another alternative to physicians being out would be to encourage a portion of the staff to take vacation time when the physician is off. Not only does it solve the issue of what happens when a physician is out of the office, but it reduces the staff that is off when the physician is in the office. A reduced staff may be all you need to keep up with the telephone calls and routine activities.

How do you handle employee hours while you are off? Email me at donna@officemanagementsolution.com.