Give registrars a way to move up!
Give registrars a way to move up!
Employees expect chance to advance
“There is nowhere to go when you are in patient access.” This is the number one complaint that Jennifer White, director of patient access at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville NH, hears from her registrars.
Patient access employees are working alongside other departments with more growth opportunities, better schedules, and more pay, says White.
There are often opportunities for paid training in clinical areas. “This can easily pick off your most motivated coworkers,” says Kim Crouse, CHAM, education specialist for patient access at Mercy Hospital Springfield (MO). “New coworkers come from a generation of immediate gratification. If they don’t find movement available within a year, they are likely to start seeking other places to work.” Here are some ways to create a sense of “movement” in patient access:
• Cross-train employees.
“By setting goals for development, the coworker has the opportunity to accomplish more than just basic access functions,” says Crouse. “They have something they can achieve that is not dependent upon someone else vacating a position.”
Crouse has cross-trained employees in different areas of patient access to help expand their knowledge of processes and functions. Staff members appreciate working in various areas, so they’re not doing the same thing every day. “This has kept them engaged in patient access. It has the added benefit of increasing productivity and helping the coworker advance,” she says.
• Create a “step-up” position from the basic entry-level role.
Mercy Hospital Springfield has a few senior patient access representative positions, and leaders are considering adding additional positions.
“Such positions can be tied to tenure and performance – two critical pieces to organizational success,” says Michael Spence, MBA, financial analyst for patient access at Mercy Hospital Springfield. “This creates the challenge many coworkers need to feel accomplished.”
Actively seek out the untapped potential of patient access employees, and provide some opportunities to use that potential, advises Spence. A registrar who is great with the technical aspects of the role could be challenged to work some more complex issues out of work queues, for example, whereas a registrar with top-notch interpersonal skills could be tapped as a mentor to less seasoned coworkers. Here are some ways Spence has found to use “untapped potential” of patient access employees:
• Several Internet-savvy employees are performing insurance verification.
• Employees who handle admission room update took on more of the registration process and ultimately were promoted.
• Experienced employees are asked to train and mentor newly hired employees.
Money often issue
“I try to be aware of staff who may not be happy by looking for different clues such as attitude and work quality,” says White. “I try to cut the resignation off at the pass, so to speak.”
At times, however, experienced registrars have left patient access for other areas of the hospital due solely to increased salary. White says she doesn’t believe managers should play the “money game” with staff. “As much as I would prefer not to go through the interview and new hire process, I will not stand in my staff’s way if it is something that is a benefit to them or their family,” she says.
However, in some cases, new tasks and responsibilities have convinced staff at Cottage Hospital to stay in patient access. A newly implemented registration ladder offers growth and promotion within the department, with five “rungs. These are Registrar I, Registrar II, Registrar III, Registrar IV, and Patient Access Supervisor, which can be filled by only one employee. Registrars apply for the next level at their annual reviews. “Each rung has a monetary value associated with it,” she says. “Each level starts out with the same criteria, but as you move up the accuracy percentage changes, and you are required to volunteer more, with increased job responsibility.”
For example, a Registrar III is required to maintain a 95% accuracy rate and be cross-trained to cover three hospital departments. For a registrar to meet the criteria for a Registrar IV, those requirements increase to 96% and four or more departments.
White worked on the registration ladder for two years. She began by soliciting feedback from the staff so they would feel as though they were a part of the new process. “I then submitted it to my senior representative, and after draft revisions, submitted it to HR for final approval,” White says. “We are in the implementation phase now. Staff are very appreciative to be recognized for their level of accomplishment within their department.” [A copy of the registration ladder is available with the online issue. For assistance, contact customer service at (800) 688-2421 or [email protected].]
For more information on offering patient access employees opportunities to advance, contact:
• Kim Crouse, CHAM, Education Specialist, Patient Access Quality, Control, and Education, Mercy Hospital Springfield (MO). Phone: (417) 820-2697. Email: [email protected].
• Jennifer White, Director of Patient Access, Cottage Hospital, Woodsville NH. Phone: (603) 747-9252. Email: [email protected].There is nowhere to go when you are in patient access. This is the number one complaint that Jennifer White, director of patient access at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville NH, hears from her registrars.
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