Staff Training: Opportunities Abound

Staffing costs typically are the largest expense in a practice. To protect your investment and build a strong team, you need to help staff members learn and grow. Consider these ready sources for staff training. 

Payers: Payers often host free webinars. For example, if you treat Medicare patients, use the Basics of Medicare three-part series available through the Medicare Learning Network (you’ll need to set up an account). This training is also good for physicians who want to learn more about Medicare enrollment and billing. The courses cover Medicare enrollment; compliance with laws, regulations, and policy; Medicare billing, payment, and appeals; review of laws related to Medicare fraud and abuse; and more. Commercial payer webinars typically address a specific topic like using a particular modifier or precertification. 

Vendors: When you bring in new technology, such as a new electronic health record system or practice management system, include training in the contract. Then budget time for formal staff training from the vendor. Beyond that, take full advantage of educational resources a vendor may have online or offer with system updates.

Your own staff: Have your staff cross-train their colleagues on their job responsibilities and daily tasks. This gives staff flexibility to move in and out of jobs as needed to fill in when someone goes on vacation or sick leave, or to step in during busy times. The American Medical Association says physicians have noted these additional benefits of cross-training:

  • Breaks up the monotony of the week, giving workers more challenges and variety;
  • Gives workers a sense policies and procedures manualof how the practice works together as a team;
  • Helps you or your administrator discover that certain workers are well-suited for a different position; and
  • Helps patients get answers to billing or insurance questions on the first call because more people will know how to find the answers.

You, the physician: Hold regular training sessions with your staff, say monthly. Whatever the training topic or whoever the trainer, be sure to explain to your staff how the topic fits in with your mission, objectives, and practice goals. Tell them why you want them to perform a certain way. Research has shown that people are more likely to comply with requests when you give them a reason. Writing in Modern Aesthetics, Heidi Waldorf, MD, says, “People who understand concepts rather than just memorize facts are … better prepared to manage the unusual and to build on their knowledge base and will grow into more effective employees for the long term.”

In addition, your practice’s policies and procedures manual can serve as a training guide for new hires, and remember that HIPAA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate annual training for staff. You can find resources for these and other topics in the TMA Education Center. When you need to train staff on complex topics, like billing or compliance, consider scheduling a visit from a TMA practice consultant for customized training. Contact a consultant at[at]texmed[dot]org or (800) 523-8776.

Visit for more ways TMA can help you manage human resources in your practice. In addition, registration for TMA’s HumanResources Seminar for physicians and managers is now open for Houston, Dallas, and Austin. 

Published May 27, 2016

TMA Practice E-Tips main page

Last Updated On

December 07, 2016

Originally Published On

May 27, 2016

Related Content

Human Resources