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Keep your 'stars': Offer new positions, more pay
Promote from within your department
Did you invest a lot of time and energy training a new registrar, only to have her turn around and leave your department?
"A lot of the patient access representative positions are at entry level, with commensurate salaries," says Jeanne Day, RHIA, CHAM, director of medical records and patient access at Greater Baltimore (MD) Medical Center. "Employees may end up transferring to different departments."
Many registration areas are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "I think that any area where you have these schedules along with an entry level salary, you are going to have challenges with retention," Day says.
Brenda M. Lamb, assistant director of admissions and patient access at University of California San Diego Medical Center, says, "Being a military town, we are more likely to have turnover due to staff moving out of the area." When three management positions became available, Lamb created three lead positions for her existing patient access staff instead of recruiting outside the department. "This offered opportunities for career growth from within our department," Lamb explains. "We did not have a career ladder of sorts within the patient access department for staff promotion, which this then offered."
The strategy, says Lamb, gave her the chance to recognize several 'stars' within the department. Previously, she explains, patient access positions ranged from Level 1 to Level 3. "Over time, we've had an excellent pool of new hire candidates with years of experience," she says. As a result, all positions were transitioned to the Level 3 classification with commensurate salaries, says Lamb.
The three new positions are over inpatient admissions, emergency department registration, and financial counseling, says Lamb. Staff work in tandem with senior operations managers to ensure appropriate staffing levels and review patient accounts for accuracy, she adds. "There was a good sampling of staff interested in the few positions," says Lamb. "All were hired from within the department."
Offer pay increase
Day developed a career ladder based on staff obtaining the certified healthcare access associate (CHAA) certification, with the hospital paying for the $100 examination fee. When staff achieve the certification, they receive a 5% pay increase, says Day.
"This is a basis of showing expertise in the field," she says. "We've had really good results with it." Previously, none of the department's 37 eligible patient access representatives had obtained the CHAA certification, says Day, but to date, 21 have done so.
"It wasn't that patient access representatives did not want to obtain the certification. I don't think they were aware it existed," says Day. "Staff are recognized for their knowledge and expertise, as well as receive a nice pay increase."
For more information on retention of patient access staff, contact:
Jeanne Day, RHIA, CHAM, Director of Medical Records & Patient Access, Greater Baltimore (MD) Medical Center. Phone: (443) 849-3554. Fax: (443) 849-8776. E-mail: JDAY@gbmc.org.
Brenda M. Lamb, Assistant Director, Admissions/Patient Access, University of California -- San Diego Medical Center. Phone: (619) 543- 3489. Fax: (619) 543-7797. E-mail: email@example.com.