Staffing Issues

Depending on the size of your practice, you may or may not need to have staff. Typically many offices will have a receptionist, a medical assistant and perhaps someone doing billing/practice management. You may hire a cleaning service or a billing service. A larger office will have more staff.

But when you are a small office, and you lose someone, it can be significant.

When we opened, it was myself, my business partner Johanna – who is also the acupuncturists and that was it. When she was not busy, she held down the front desk. I managed all of my patients myself. Soon it became apparent that we needed more assistance and soon.

Our first assistant was a CNA I had worked with previously. In that office, she stood out…but that was because of the environment and the lack of good assistants in that office. With me…well, she left something to be desired and was often calling in sick. Finally, she decided that she was doing too much and needed to concentrate on school and having a baby.

My next assistant could run MA circles around the first. Efficient, fast, professional and friendly. All our patients like her. We liked her. Last week I was discussing with her and our receptionist my plan to hire another person to fill in for their vacations, sick days and the like. We discussed what they felt would be important in how to make this work. I assured them their hours were not going to be cut, but it was clear we needed more help.

So imaging my surprise to learn this morning to that my assistant is leaving. While I was initially shocked…I’m not totally. We have a very diverse patient population and I have been sensing increased discomfort on her part. Yes, I’m assuming this is the reason – as the ones she gave…they are evasive and variable. I hope that she will share more with me, though I’m not sure she will.

While this throws a kink in my plans…so be it. Business, healthcare or otherwise, is not boring!

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  1. Hi Barb,

    I hope you got your medical assistant situation straightened out. Did you find someone new? How many staff do you have now? I have one part time ma that works 15-20 hrs a week, and that is going to be it until our volume doubles. We still are at about 3 patients per day. We still are having trouble getting Care Oregon. The panel list I was given had numbers that were 20 miles away, or the phone numbers were disconnected..and they did not get me in the Provider directory (provided to the members) for 2008, so I have to wait a year.. I think it will end up being word of mouth..I have 4 Care Oregon families now, but they came by way of the Rite Aid pharmacy. Yea, Rite Aid! Carla

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