5 Ways to Incent Good Behavior With Staff Bonuses

Surgery center administrators agree: Staff members respond to financial incentives. Here are five ways to improve staff performance and your ASC's operations by distributing bonuses.

1. Don't distinguish bonuses based on job title.
Rosemary Lambie, administrator of the SurgiCenter of Baltimore, a five-OR ASC in Owings Mills, Md., says all 20 employees at her ASC equally share the payments in her bonus program, no matter what work they do. For example, the four people in the business office share the bonus for collections with everyone else. Everyone has an influence over this category because it is based on net revenue, Ms. Lambie says. Also, "we're a team," she says.

2. Tie bonuses to specific thresholds.
According to Sarah Martin, of Symbion, good incentive programs are tied to financial and quality aspects of the ASC's business. "For example, all staff can assist the facility to meet supply and salary goals for the month, based on flexing their hours worked and not opening unnecessary supplies, as well as helping to identify other sources for supplies," she says. She says the key is to base the bonus on "meeting or exceeding expectations," rather than letting the bonus become an expectation among employees regardless of effort.

3. Give schedulers bonuses for improving physician office communication. If your center is looking to improve relationships between physicians and your ASC, you might consider giving bonuses to schedulers for keeping in closer contact with physician offices. "We work really hard with the schedulers and incentivize them if they demonstrate staying on top of [schedules] by providing Starbucks gift cards and organizing big luncheons for them with the physicians," says Sue Leveque, RN, administrator at Central California Endoscopy Center in Fresno, Calif. "It's important to keep good relationships with the schedulers."

4. Give out bonuses based on patient collections. Larry Taylor, president and CEO of Practice Partners in Healthcare, says ASCs should keep a log showing how many patients paid their bill. Once the log has been kept for a few weeks, start offering a bonus for those who collect 90 percent of more of patients' payments. "The goal here is to reinforce the importance of collecting from patients," he says.

5. Hold a "good idea" competition and distribute a bonus to the winner.
Joe Zasa, co-founder and managing partner of ASD Management, says ASCs thrive when staff members are encouraged to contribute good ideas on saving money, improving patient care and increasing physician satisfaction. He recommends asking for ideas from staff and creating a monetary award for the best ideas. "The purpose of the bonus plan is to simulate ownership in your ASC and incentivize the staff to think and act like owners," he says.

Read more suggestions on operating a great ASC:

-4 Insights About Hiring a Full-Time Surgery Center Purchasing Manager

-Administrator Tip: How to Get Physicians to Attend Partnership Meetings

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