Put yourself in the position of employee relations manager Jean Howell and recom- mend a course of action for supervisor Sharon Ward to pursue in dealing with the professional with the delinquent documentation problem.

The paperwork sImply IsN’T ImporTaNT

Primary Topic—Employee Problems and Problem Employees

Additional Topics—Authority; Criticism and Discipline; Motivation

“I’ve got this absolutely brilliant employee—probably the best patient-contact person out of the two dozen in the department, and clearly the most successful in terms of results—who drives me nuts by not keeping up with her documentation.” Manager Sharon Ward slapped the file folder on the desk in front of her and added, “Truly, Julia gets more positive results than anyone else, yet she consumes more of my time than any other two put together, even the ones who bend the attendance rules.”

Employee relations manager Jean Howell asked, “How can this person be so good—so ‘absolutely brilliant,’ as you put it—if she doesn’t document what she’s doing?”

“Because everything else is great,” said Sharon. “Her productivity is high, maybe the highest in the group, so that means she’s a revenue producer. Quite simply, she sees more patients on a consistent basis than just about anybody else, and her results are generally better, at least based on the number of personal referrals she’s received and the minimum number of complaints I’ve ever had about her work.”

“Isn’t documentation part of the job description?” Jean asked. “We generally require that anything done with, for, or on behalf of a patient be documented, and usually there are payment implications as well. That is, if certain documentation isn’t provided, we don’t get paid.”

Sharon said, “Hmmpf! Minimum documentation for billing purposes is just about all we get, and we have to drag that out of her. Our therapists are all on a pro- ductivity arrangement, so they know—even Julia knows—that their own income as well as the division’s depends on timely and accurate billing.”

“Then what’s the real problem?” “A chronic lack of complete visit reports. Almost never any real progress notes.”

Sharon spread her palms in a gesture of helplessness and continued, “Julia’s charts are a time bomb waiting for a state inspection or external audit, not to mention a profes- sional standards review. Yet every time I try to address the issue she brushes me off. I even caught her at a quiet time the other day and tried to bring up the problem, but

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she just gave me one of her standard little flip responses, something like, ‘You worry too much, Sharon. The paperwork just isn’t that important!’”

Instructions:

Put yourself in the position of employee relations manager Jean Howell and recom- mend a course of action for supervisor Sharon Ward to pursue in dealing with the professional with the delinquent documentation problem.

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