Finding reliable help for your therapy clinic may feel impossible. If you’ve experienced a high turnover rate with administrative staff, you’re not alone. In our experience, this is an unfortunate, yet common issue facing therapy clinics, regardless of size. However, all is not lost. With a bit of careful planning and straightforward hiring protocol, you can make solid connections and create a team of loyal, long-term employees.
Hire Admins Who Know Therapy
No matter the discipline, working in a therapy office can be more complex than some might expect. If you’re hiring people who are familiar with other segments of health care, you should expect that they may not be prepared to work in the therapy world. Other types of medical offices are likely to have had quite different procedures and clientele.
On the other hand, if you’ve been hiring admins, coders, or billers who do claim to have previously worked in a therapy office, it’s best not to assume they’ll jump right in with no help. After all, your practice and systems are unique.
Observe an Applicant’s Demeanor
Regardless of background, we recommend testing out how potential applicants interact with everyone else in your office. How do they take direction? Are they engaged and asking questions? Do they seem to fit right in with your company culture?
There will be nuances involved in how front desk staff interact with patients, particularly if you serve a special needs community. If the applicant is not warm and cordial with therapists or other colleagues, it’s a red flag that they may not be likely to treat patients with the level of care you expect.
In addition, tread carefully if someone other than you is making the final decision to hire someone new. What’s been their track record of new hire selection? If you feel you have a better sense of whom to bring on board, you should make sure to set up second interviews or at least meet the applicants prior to approving any staff member’s decision. In a nutshell, trust your gut as the clinic owner!
Offer Dedicated Training for In-House Staff
Once you’ve decided to bring someone onto your team, we highly suggest requiring at least two weeks of dedicated training. This can be tough if you don’t have the luxury of turnaround time, but the inconvenience of being short-staffed for a while has fewer consequences than throwing a novice into a job they’re not prepared for. You’ll be glad you spent the time and money to train new staff instead of making up for potentially serious mistakes later. All administrative staff will learn more about the industry over time, but the basics are essential from day one so they feel comfortable with their basic knowledge.
At TheraPlan, we’ve worked with many an admin team, so we have a good idea of what’s usually missing from their knowledge base. As a result, we recommend including the following components in your training program, at a minimum:
- Definitions of common terms (co-pay, co-insurance, deductible)
- New patient intake process at your clinic
- Commercial insurance 101
- Medicaid and Medicare overview (if necessary)
- CPT codes for relevant disciplines
- HIPAA compliance for admins
- Your clinic-specific processes
The Effects of Hiring Wisely
Once you’ve implemented the hiring practices above, you’ll start to see the positive effects on every other area of your practice. Thorough screening of applicants and effective training result in fewer worries about HIPAA compliance, a more efficient credentialing process, and less risk for your business overall.
Need to consult with an expert about how to hire more quality help for your therapy practice? Along with our experienced partner billing agency, we offer consulting for clinics of all sizes. Contact us today.