Illinois, business office solutions pro- vider. ASCs, however, sometimes fail to aggressively pursue cost savings tied to HR, he adds.

“If you go to one bank for an equipment loan interest rate and then go to another bank and get a lower interest rate, which one you choose is probably a pretty straightforward decision,” Jacobs says. “With HR, decisions that impact your employ- ees should be rooted in an under- standing of employment law com- pliance. So, it is often less obvious what are the most appropriate, effec- tive ways to save money. There are many good practices that can lead to cost savings.”

These are cost savings that can Cost Savings in Human Resources

Hire smart, cross-train and keep staff morale high BY ROBERT KURTZ


hen Sarah Malaniak, CASC, was brought on as administra-

tor for the Ambulatory Center for En- doscopy in North Bergen, New Jersey, one of her first assignments was to tackle the ASC’s overtime problem. “There was an astronomical amount

of overtime and it was constant,” she recalls. “When I was interviewing for my position, I was told that part of my job would be to come up with a solution.”

Her solution was instituting flex- ible staffing (see story on creative staffing models on page 10). “If we are going to have a slow day, I do not schedule my staff to be here for the full day,” Malaniak says. “Maybe they will work four to five hours. On another day, they will make up the difference by working 10 hours. This approach has essentially reduced our overtime down to zero.”

I typically recommend that ASCs outsource their payroll services. In addition to handling what can be a complex process, payroll service providers typically take care of tax reporting and other time-consuming tasks associated with payroll. The time savings can be substantial.”

— Lori Post Medical Consulting Group

Introducing improvements like the one Malaniak describes can greatly reduce an ASC’s human resources (HR)-related expenses, says Tom Jacobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of MedHQ, a Westchester,


have a long-lasting impact on your bottom line, Malaniak continues. “HR is an everyday, ongoing process. You certainly want to try to save money when you buy new capital equipment, for example, but that is a one-off pur- chase. When you can bring about improvements to HR, you will likely realize more savings over time.”

Make Careful Decisions Since HR covers a broad range of staff services, ASCs would be wise to avoid trying to bring about too many improvements at once, advises Lori Post, director of client human resources services for Medical Con- sulting Group, a business solutions provider based in Springfield, Mis- souri. “You need to pick and choose what areas have the most bang for their buck, so to speak.” Smaller ASCs often lack the capac- ity to employ a full-time HR profes- sional, Post says. That requires them to lean on their administrator and other staff members to fulfill HR responsi- bilities. She says it might be worth- while for such ASCs to explore oppor- tunities to alleviate the workload. “I typically recommend that ASCs outsource their payroll services,” Post says. “In addition to handling what

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