Posts Tagged ethics


Accountability: Nine Ways to Protect the Physician and the Manager

Recent news stories about manager embezzlement give us all a black eye.  What can managers do to limit their liability, and how can physicians protect the practice without managing the day-to-day operations themselves?

Here are nine suggestions:

  1. Perform a thorough background check before hiring a manager, and have your manager bonded.
  2. Have your bank statements sent to the physician’s home address and/or make sure the physician has the master access to the bank accounts online.  Physicians, have a personal relationship with your practice banker and make time for a short meeting with them quarterly.
  3. Have the physician sign your practice checks. Each check should be attached to an invoice that lists the goods or service purchased.  Do not order a rubber stamp of the doctor’s signature.
  4. Insist on a duplicate, numbered receipt book for staff to give receipts to patients for all over the counter payments.
  5. Have your insurance and patient checks sent to a lockbox.
  6. Make sure the manager takes time off ”“ at least several weeks a year. Managers who are “too busy” or “can’t ever get away” are a red flag.  The physician should review all mail during the manager’s vacation.
  7. Check the monthly credit card statement carefully before making the payment.  Keep the card restricted to a relatively low limit to manage your liability.  Do not pay practice bills routinely on the card to build frequent flyer miles as this makes it much easier for an employee to hide non-approved expenditures.
  8. Have a budget and make sure variances can be explained.
  9. Hire a CPA to review the books quarterly.  Even if you do not need the services of a CPA for your statement reconciliation, taxes or partners distribution, hire one to review the expenses and receipts, and ensure that the retirement plan is being funded appropriately.

A qualified, ethical manager has nothing to hide and will thank you for following these nine rules.  The rules protect the manager as well as the practice.

Photo credit: © Yuyang |

Posted in: Finance, Physician Relations

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Long Vacations are Good for Employees, the Company and Me!

When we first moved to the west coast, I was stunned to find that people routinely take two weeks of vacation off AT ONE TIME! On the east coast, my experience had been that taking more than a week off was reserved for getting married or going to Europe. Amazingly, and this was a revelation to me, people can take two weeks off at a time and the organization can go on! Now I am very much in favor of people taking longer vacations for a number of reasons:

  1. It forces the organization to cross-train employees and to make sure that there are at least three people in the company that know how to do every critical task.
  2. It requires the creation and maintenance of current, clearly written protocols associated with each job, in case the other two employees who are cross-trained on the job get sick, have jury duty, have a death in their family, or quit on short notice.
  3. It gives the company an opportunity to assess the workload and composition of a job from another person’s viewpoint. We’ve all had the experience where someone goes on an extended leave and you find out that the job is much more, or less, complex that you thought, or someone was telling you.
  4. It ensures that nothing untoward is going on with someone who has access to company money. Everyone’s heard of the manager who never takes a vacation, not because s/he’s so dedicated, but because s/he has sticky fingers.
  5. It gives the employee an opportunity to truly rest, heal, and remember that there is life outside of work (can you tell I’m thinking about myself here?)

Here’s an excellent article that has some great points about the ethics of taking Vacations. The author, Bruce Weinstein, PhD states:

Leaving work behind for a period of time is not only acceptable; it is our ethical obligation.

My advice to each of you is to fulfill your ethical duty as soon as possible.

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Human Resources, Memes

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