Editor’s Note: which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Carol Gibbons, RN, BSN, NHA, who is CEO of CJ Consulting, which specializes in healthcare revenue cycle management. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.
Have you ever done an audit of your employee personnel folders to review the actual information that has made its way into these folders? There have been many Department of Labor changes in the past couple of years, so now would be a good time to pull several folders and analyze the contents.
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While performing an audit of clients’ personnel folders, it became very clear that the staff did not understand what should be in them. Many things in that folder ( whether on paper, or electronically stored, are subject to being copied and given to the employee if there is a discrepancy, so clear rules needed to be established regarding not only what was in the folder, but also how they are stored and who has access.
The first step is to know what should be in the folders. The employee application is the most important item. It gives you a history of the employee’s past experience and permission to verify work information. Next would be any job offer that was extended to the employee prior to hiring. Verification of previous employment and references contacted regarding the employee are very important and should be documented in the folder. It may be difficult at times to get previous employers to reveal more than dates of employment and if the employee is eligible for rehire. Some will even ask for a signature from employee to give permission to disclose information.
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You should at least make an attempt and document the information. Understand that previous employers may refuse to do more than verify dates of hire, because of legal challenges and you may need to ask for personal references. A red flag on the references given might be that the reference noted on the application is a co-worker rather than a supervisor or owner of the business. Always try to verify employment with an owner, manager or supervisor if possible.
New employee information
Once you have offered the future employee a position, a demographic form should be filled out and placed in the folder listing emergency contact numbers, information about dependents (if the company provides insurance), and other physical data about the future employee, such as height and weight. This information cannot be legally requested prior to the offer of employment.