Prickly Issues

Physical therapy practice performance | TeamflowPrickly Issues

Bringing up concerns results in pointing fingers, casting blame.

How can Shannon improve performance in the office without losing workers or hurting morale?

Shannon looked around the conference room. She had borrowed the room from a neighboring office and called all her staff in early, hoping it would seem more official than if she just brought up her concerns during the regular workday. On the contrary, two of her team members were busy with their phones and most of the others were chatting.

“Okay, people!” she said, worrying that she sounded too perky. “We have a problem, but I think we can all work together and make things better.”

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Definitely too perky.

“We need to step up our game in the office,” she continued. “When we have mistakes in billing it costs the practice money.”

The office staff looked offended and the trainers looked bored, but Shannon soldiered on. “Payments get delayed, claims get denied, and we can end up with interrupted care plans and unhappy patients.”

“I am meticulous about paperwork,” Theresa objected, “but I can only do so much with what I’m given.”

“Like what?” one of the assistants chimed in. “I’m meticulous, too!”

“Everybody might be meticulous,” put in a young man in orange scrubs, “but I know I got some notes last week that said, and I quote, ‘Back pain.’ What am I supposed to do with that?”

Shannon waited for the outcry to settle down and continued. “We’ve had claims going in with incorrect diagnosis codes, we don’t always collect the co-pays, and we have some documentation issues that could get us in trouble.”

Team members began talking again, each one seeming to blame another until it was time to open the physical therapy practice.

“Well, thank you all,” Shannon concluded. “I know we can all work together to solve this problem.”

“I don’t know where you get that idea,” Theresa said, helping Shannon put the room in order as the last worker left. “We just spent nearly an hour listening to people say it wasn’t their fault. What makes you think anyone is going to make changes?”

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“You did the same thing the rest of them did!” Shannon protested.

“And so did you!” Theresa snapped. “We’re all doing our best already. You didn’t give us any new ideas. You just said we were messing up. No one is messing up on purpose.”

Shannon sighed and walked back to her office in silence, a few steps behind her office manager. Theresa was right. She hadn’t made things better — in fact, she might have made them worse. The excuses and defensive accusations made in the meeting replayed in her mind as she got ready for her first patient. Turnover was high enough already, and now everyone would be grumpy.

“I don’t have time for this,” Shannon muttered to herself.

How can Shannon improve performance in the office without losing workers or hurting morale?

Want to know how to improve your own practice workflow? Register for our webinar ’4 Steps to Stop Your Staff from Fighting.’