Are Poor Staffing Issues Killing Your Private Practice?

Portrait of An Attractive Young Adult Woman Doctor or Nurse Holding Touch Pad Outside.

Quite possibly. Here’s exactly what to do about it.

Much of what we see creating unneeded stress in private practices today is a direct result of the owner physician not having an adequate staffing plan in place.

Specifically, it’s the absence of a clear, frequently updated, written staffing, compliance and HIPAA plan every staff person reads, signs, and then redoes this periodically.

The best staffing plans have significant added details by you then reviewed by counsel before you ever present to your team. You must take the time to add what’s important to you on a day to day basis. This includes things like promptness, attire, time off, dishonesty and often forgotten issues like office cleanliness.

Despite your best intentions, when dealing with staffing issues it’s not a question of if they’re going to occur but when.

I can cite numerous examples, and you can too. Some can tank your career and your future as a physician. Implementation of staffing and compliance plans is your first line of defense when it comes complete satisfaction in private practice. The more proficient you become as the CEO of your practice the simpler it becomes. It also becomes easier to spot prospective employees who may ultimately become trouble.

It’s very important for you as the practice owner never to turn this responsibility to anybody under you.

It’s perfectly okay to have a subordinate help you in the hiring, staffing and training processes, but it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure that all the systems that you need are in place. You must also be sure that all steps are taken explicitly and completely to make sure the best team members are hired.

You, as the private practice owner must always have the final say. It is up to you to decide how to run your office in your practice. Never forget that these basic but key decisions are likely to determine your long-term success or failure in private practice.

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4 Responses

  1. John Hayes Jr says:


    Well that’s a heavy duty response.

    Respectfully, once a staffing plan is created and in place, workload diminishes significantly. Talk to any doc who’s been though an employee issue in private practice and you may have a different outlook.

    • Bridget Reidy says:

      No, an ideal practice does virtually no non patient care work so needs 0-1 employees. And the only thing that should be in the employee’s job description is whatever they are capable of that makes the doc more efficient. Employees with other kinds of job descriptions are the reasons “shit flows uphill”, ie the doc is the only one left to do whatever’s necessary that no one thought of when writing the job descriptions. Patients vary and have unpredictable needs, medically as well as social worky.

      • john hayes says:

        Agreed on the non-patient care work Brenda. Exactly why the last paragraph was written. In private practice we create our reality, and that should always stay that way.


  2. Deborah Sutcliffe says:

    Gonna disagree here! The stress that is killing private practice is just this sort of bullshit– HIPAA and other crap heaped on physicians by bureaucrats. The answer is NOT to spend more time on NON-patient care, but to get rid of the asinine requirements. Sorry, but you sound like a corporate c-suite goon, not the physician owner of a small practice, which I am. Insurance and government BS drove me out of the FFS world, into DPC where I have cut administrative headaches by at least 2/3.

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