Detailed data make consolidation easier

Use these topics as a guide

When Physicians Specialty Corp. in Atlanta takes on a new practice, whether it is in the same state or not, one of the first things Human Resources Director Robyn Smith does is find out what benefits the new organization has and how they compare with other practices. She has developed a 12-page questionnaire that each new office gets. It covers a wide variety of information, including:

    4 number of employees and their status as full- or part-time, contract, or temporary workers;

    4 a list of employees and pertinent information, such as date of hire, hours worked per week, and salary;

    4 insurance information, including health and dental coverage and how much the employee and practice each pay; disability, life, accidental death, and workers' compensation;

    4 a list of all paid holidays;

    4 an explanation of vacation and sick benefits;

    4 information on profit-sharing and pension plans;

    4 salary data for employees;

    4 information on the pay schedule;

    4 an explanation of any bonus program;

    4 data on other benefits, such as uniform allowances, parking, and educational assistance.

By performing such a thorough due diligence, says Smith, "I have a frame of reference to see how a new practice operates and how it compares to what we already have. Then if there are significant differences, I can deal with it." For instance, when her company went public in March 1997, Smith didn't offer a 401k. But practices that linked with the practice management company did. "I had it bid out to 15 vendors, did a two-month analysis, and presented it to the board."