Case Study: Employing a Manager Gives Practices a Raise

Case Study: Employing a Manager Gives Practices a Raise

Apr 28, 2004
By staff


Hiring a practice manager can boost productivity, staff satisfaction, and practice revenue. Just ask Dr. Gail Mason, MA, Dipl. ACVIM, co-owner of Bath-Brunswick Veterinary Associates in Brunswick, Maine. She and co-owner Dr. Mark Mason, MS, Dipl. ABVP, have saved 15 hours a week combined since they hired practice manager Perian Phillips seven years ago. Between the two specialists, the practice can schedule four additional 45-minute referral appointments per day.

“Our patients receive higher quality care because we have more time for diagnostics and procedures,” Dr. Gail Mason says. She concentrates on internal medicine, and Dr. Mark Mason focuses on surgery and sonography, while Phillips manages all 55 employees of Bath-Brunswick Veterinary Associates. Phillips interviews job candidates and has hired 20 employees, including four doctors. She also oversees Web site development, advertising, and marketing.

Before the owners hired Phillips, they struggled to resolve management issues. They found themselves working longer and longer hours as the practice grew. “We stopped planning for the future,” Dr. Gail Mason says. Close to burnout, they hired Phillips, who was vice-president of marketing and communication for a local cable company with 100 employees. They were stunned by her interpersonal skills, which have been invaluable in resolving staff conflicts, Dr. Gail Mason says.

These days the owners leave the practice when it closes at 6 p.m. “We spend more time with our families, and we sleep better at night because we know we can rely on a manager who shares our practice vision,” Dr. Gail Mason says. Team members report enhanced job satisfaction as well. They trust and admire Phillips, who prevents scheduling and job performance problems with monthly staff meetings. Phillips has also named department heads to increase employee responsibility and control.

Having Phillips on staff costs the practice $45,000 to $60,000 per year, plus benefits, which include an annual continuing-education stipend of $1,200. These expenses, however, add up to a fraction of the revenue Phillips helps generate. Under her direction, the practice has grown 5 percent to 15 percent per year. And the owners, who see only referrals with an average client transaction (ACT) of $285, earn the practice $1,140 more per day from the extra appointments.

Are you spending more than 50 hours a week at work? If so, it’s time to consider hiring a practice manager, says Dr. Gail Mason. “Any multidoctor practice could benefit,” she says. How much? Let’s say she and Dr. Mark Mason were treating general clients during 45-minute appointments and generating an ACT of $130. The time they would save by hiring a manager would let them bring in an additional $520 per day.