CREATING AN OFFICE MANUAL
At The Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), we know that setting up your own practice is a daunting task. There are many aspects of striking out as a new podiatrist that are not covered in the classroom. One of them is writing an office manual.
Why Do I Need a Manual?
An office manual is not just a nicety that makes your office look professional. It lays the foundation for a smoothly run practice and can even protect you if there ever comes a time when you need to fire an employee. In a nutshell, your office manual puts in writing the rules, policies, procedures and even the “work culture” of your practice. The basic areas that should be covered in the manual are:
- General Information—bio of the physician and overview of the practice, including its mission statement. It will also spell out the expectations for the employee and rules and regulations of the practice.
- Explanation of Benefits -- describe the benefits packages available, and include policies related to holidays, paid time off, absenteeism, insurance, retirement, maternity or family leave. Spell out how and when you do personnel evaluations.
- Safety Procedures -- include procedures and protocols for dealing with emergencies: patient related, fire, tornado, accidents, injuries, and OSHA compliance.
- Policies and Procedures -- office policies, including dress codes, telephone and Internet usage, lunch hours, breaks, attendance, travel, parking, as well as policies related to smoking, alcohol or substance abuse.
- Resignation and Termination Procedures—grounds and procedures for termination.
Timing is Everything
Your office manual should be written before you hire your staff. Every employee should receive a copy of the manual when they are hired and be asked to read it and sign off that they have received, read and understand its contents. A copy of this sheet should be kept in their employee file. Whenever changes or additions are made to the manual, all employees should be given copies of the changed areas and asked to sign off on those as well.
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