Physician On-Call Scheduling and On-Call Management Blog
by Justin Wampach

Does Anyone Care How Much Time You Spend on the On-Call Schedule?

Posted by Justin Wampach on Tue, Jul 03, 2018 @ 08:28 AM

I was just reading a great blog post from a company that schedules restaurant employees and it was talking about an employee of the company displaying at a trade show and trying to talk to attendees as they walk by the booth.

The vendor said, “Hi, would you be interested in knowing more about online employee scheduling and forecasting?”  The man hesitated.  A-HA!  A browser! He turned and said, “What, you mean a tool to do the schedule on the computer?”  I replied, “Yes, absolutely, and a great deal more.”  He then said something I have since heard several times, but as this was the first time I’d heard it, it surprised the heck out of me.  He said, “I pay my manager a salary and I don’t care how long it takes them or how hard it is. That’s why they’re salaried.” 

This made me think of how many times I hear from the person creating the on-call schedule that no-one seems to understand or care how difficult it is or how long it takes. 

How Long Does it Take to Build an On-Call Schedule?

Over the past several years I have commented many times about trying to understand and articulate the value of your time when creating, maintaining, and publishing the call schedule.  If your partners or your boss is not aware how much time and energy is being spent, chances are it will never change.  I would go as far as to say that if you are being asked to do this task at night or on the weekends of your own time, and you are not an owner or stakeholder, you might want to strongly consider politely giving the project back.

Managing Overtime in Your Clinic or Practice 

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It’s a common assumption that salaried workers can be asked to work overtime without being compensated extra. That assumption is not always true.

It’s not whether you’re salaried but whether you meet the test for exempt status as defined by federal and state laws. An employee that is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act is not entitled to overtime. An employee that is non-exempt from FLSA is entitled to overtime. The official stance is:

A salaried employee must be paid overtime unless they meet the test for exempt status as defined by federal and state laws or unless they are specifically exempted from overtime by the provisions of one of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders regulating wages, hours, and working conditions.

If you are salaried and are non-exempt, then you can calculate your overtime pay like this:

  1. Multiply the monthly remuneration by 12 (months) to get the annual salary.
  2. Divide the annual salary by 52 (weeks) to get the weekly salary.
  3. Divide the weekly salary by the number of legal maximum regular hours (40) to get the regular hourly rate.

As mentioned above it is somewhat different if you are an owner or stakeholder in the business. Although if you have a true partnership (an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests) you should not allow any unfair treatment between partners. This causes friction in the relationship and could eventually cause a disillusion in the partner agreement.

One easy way to accomplish this is to answer the following questions (at least annually):

  1. What are your duties in the clinic outside of patient care?
    • Do I still like doing it?
    • How much time does it take?
    • How much does it cost?
    • Is this a good use of my time?
    • Are there any tools (like software) that can assist me?
  2. What are your partner’s duties in the clinic outside of patient care?
    • Do they still like doing it?
    • How much time does it take them?
    • How much does it cost them?
    • Is this a good use of their time?
    • Are there any tools (like software) that can assist them?
  3. Are these duties still a good fit for you and your partners?

Key Takeaway:  By reviewing and answering these questions you are showing your business savvy and also showing your partners that you care.

 

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Topics: adopting on-call software