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ceeds and others do not,” he adds. “Ex- amples of facility-wide metrics can in- clude everything from correct charting to clocking-in at the appropriate time.” Another key point is for the staff

to know that they will be continually audited after they achieve a metric to ensure that there is no digression to the old status quo, McLean says. “If this occurs, then the managers should drill down to the individual people who are responsible and make it a human re- sources (HR) issue. Once a person is involved in an HR matter, we do not allow them to be eligible for the next bonus and the staff member also has to deal with whatever fallout comes from the HR piece.”

Issues to Consider When Starting a Bonus Program

Ronald L. Brank, group vice presi- dent of finance of the Atlantic Operations Group of Symbion Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee, recom- mends that ASCs consider the fol- lowing before launching a bonus pay program:

agreement by partners that the program is worthwhile;

clear statement of the objec- tives of the plan;

■ attainable objectives; ■

clear understanding and state- ment of the criteria that are linked to the ASC’s objectives;

■ a well-written plan; and ■

good balance and link between salaries and wages and the bo- nus plan for total compensation potential.


Starting a Bonus Pay Program To implement a bonus pay program, McLean suggests starting with a regular patient satisfaction bonus, like the one that was in place at the Memorial Mission Surgery Center when he joined the ASC. “Then, introduce the accelerated bonus idea to the staff and give them one ‘freebie’ for a set period, without having a metric to be achieved, so they can taste the advantages before you begin,” he says. “Importantly, this prevents staff from failing the first period and writing off the concept as unachievable; although an easy goal should also prevent failure.” From a corporate point of view,

Brank says, the local ASC managers in conjunction with the local board must both be involved from the beginning to assure an acceptable approach is cre- ated. “Realistically, the local physician partners will have a great degree of in- fluence on any plan implemented. “If relationships or networking ex-

ist for a facility, it is important to talk with other facilities or companies to gain insight into any bonus plans they use and the details of the structure of existing bonus plans,” Brank contin- ues. “These due diligence discussion calls or meetings should include ques-

tions on what has worked in the past, what has not worked and why.” Last, keep in mind that when you set up a program, it doesn’t have to be fixed, says Marcus M. Crider, partner at Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis in Nashville, Tennessee. “See how it goes and then you can always change it if it doesn’t fit your needs.”

Tips for Creating a Successful Plan To make a plan work, it is important to keep employees informed of each and every parameter of the bonus program, Crider says. “Identify mea- surable goals so that there’s no room for dispute over who gets a bonus and why,” he says. “Clarify whether an employee will have to be employed at the time when the bonus will be earned and when it will be paid. For instance, say someone worked from January through November and got laid off in November and the bonus is paid in December. Determine when setting up the pay program whether they would still get that bonus. Clar- ity on that would be essential. Consult your labor attorney and make sure your rule complies with the state and federal laws.” Brank agrees with Crider on clar-

ity. For bonus plans to be successful over the long term, he says, they must include the following: ■

a clear statement of the criteria for the bonus that is linked to the goals and objectives of the ASC;

a clear understanding by the poten- tial recipients of what must be at- tained to gain a bonus and a belief that they have direct control and/or significant influence over attaining the criteria of the bonus plan;

realistic goals and objectives crite- ria . . . a bonus that is not attainable from the start will obviously not be successful in the long term and has the potential to actually harm the morale of the ASC staff targeted for the bonus;

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