I originally wrote this article in 1998 and had it published in an organizational magazine. It’s meant to be both a tongue and cheek look at medical billing as well as part of the reality of what some patient accounting directors deal with on a daily basis.

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One of the difficulties all patient accounting managers face is that their jobs depend on others to make them look good. Good billers and registration clerks can make you look like a genius, even if the best thing that happened was that you inherited them. At the same time, just because someone is good at what they do doesn’t mean they’re a good employee, or even a happy employee.

Does an employee need to be happy? There’s a couple of thoughts on that one. There are managers who are quite radical in their approach, who demand the utmost respect at all times, unquestioning loyalty and dedication to the job, those whose employees are afraid to go to the bathroom because they’re worried it’ll look like they’re slacking off.

There are those managers who are best buddies with their employees, god-parent to most of their kids, and empathetic to the point where everyday is anticipated with the same fever as teenage lovers who can only see each other at school because they both live at home with their parents.
Some of these managers are loved, but one often questions how respected they are.

Then there’s different types of employees.

They are the ones who whine that nobody cares about what they do.

There are the instigators, who whip other employees into a frenzy, yet will never say anything themselves.

There’s the quiet ones, those of which you’re never sure what they’re thinking or how they feel.

There’s the efficient ones, who at times question how come he or she finds the work easy and begins to feel as though they’re doing all the work.

There’s the slow ones, who usually tries the best they can and makes few errors, or may not have a clue as to what’s going on but hasn’t been found out yet.

There’s the friendly ones, who knows when everyone’s child’s christening is throughout the whole hospital, puts all the parties together, and shares every bit of information they know, or make up, with everyone else.

There’s the mad or angry ones, for which there’s not a darn thing you’ll ever be able to do to make things right for.

There’s the timid ones, who you can’t talk to because every time you say their name water gushes out of every pore of their body. Then they shake, their voices quiver, and you start feeling guilty even when you’re trying to give them good news.

I’ve been in management for many years now, even as a consultant, and though I feel I’ve changed a little bit here and there I think I’ve always tried to adhere to some particular business and leadership behaviors.

Treat everyone like an adult, with respect, and fairly. I find that you get what you give, regardless if it’s a person in billing, housekeeping, maintenance, admission, or a physician… well, maybe not physicians; these things only work with humans.

As with everything else, there’s many factors that can impact the chemistry you try to achieve with your employees, or all employees within an organization. If you don’t have consistent factors to get behind you’re going to have trouble with everyone. You might as well make sure the philosophy you pick is backing the right horse… which should be you.

What do you feel is the most preferable to your employees, a manager who treats them as the guilty party all the time, a manager who believes them all the time, or a manager who tells them the truth? Breaking it down further, which of these philosophies do you think works best with people in general? Finally, what makes the majority of them happy, and are you willing to work towards that?

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