In this discussion forum, you will prepare for the Week 6 Final Paper by analyzing the organizational challenges described in the Southglenn Physical Therapy Clinics Case Study found in the Week 6 Final Paper instructions. You will share your work with classmates to develop a more complete understanding of these challenges, which will help you as you respond to next week’s assignment.
Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, read the Southglenn Physical Therapy Clinics Case Study provided in the Week 6 Final Paper instructions. Then, review your learning from throughout the course, including your notes on assigned textbook chapters and articles.
In an initial post of at least 500 words, and referencing at least two required scholarly sources,
- Reflect on the organizational challenges presented in the Southglenn Physical Therapy Clinics Case Study provided in the Week 6 Final Paper instructions.
- Analyze the case study to identify organizational challenges.
- Briefly describe each organizational challenge you identified, explaining the nature of the challenge and how the challenge affects the leaders and managers in the organization.
- You may use a bulleted list to compile the challenges you identified and your explanation of each.
Southglenn Physical Therapy Clinics Case Study
Lawanda Hastings has a challenge ahead of her. She recently took over leadership responsibilities for the downtown branch of Southglenn Physical Therapy Clinics (SPTC), which are private outpatient clinics owned by Dr. Matt Nelson. SPTC has served the Salt Lake City community since 1999 and specializes in orthopedic rehabilitation, sports medicine, deep tissue massage therapy, aquatic therapy, and work-related injuries. Over the years, Dr. Nelson has built SPTC from a single outpatient clinic to three complementary clinics that have a sound reputation for providing excellent physical therapy services.
SPTC is especially well-known for the excellent rehabilitation services provided for professional and amateur athletes who injure knees or other joints in snow sport accidents, common injuries associated with Utah’s exceptional ski resorts, where many collegiate and Olympic athletes practice for competitive events, and families ski and snowboard during the winter months.
The three clinics complement one another because each offers basic rehabilitation services, and each is also known for a particular specialty. For example, the Main SPTC clinic, now housed in a 30,000-square foot building with an indoor pool, focuses on sports medicine, athletic injuries, and aquatic therapy. The Downtown clinic that Lawanda now leads specializes in work injury programs, designed to help patients return to full employment after an occupational injury. The smallest of the three clinics in the nearby suburb of Murray primarily treats post-surgical patients to help reduce pain and increase mobility. All three clinics are located along the light rail line, making travel between the clinic locations for staff and patients quite easy.
Each of the three SPTC operations is headed by a clinic director, whose role is to lead clinic operations and coordinate patient care at the clinic location. Each director is also a licensed physical therapist, who ultimately oversees the professional conduct of clinic staff. The three directors report directly to Matt Nelson, as does the clinic administrator, who is responsible for functions such as patient scheduling, client and insurance billing, the electronic medical record system, purchasing and accounts payable, and personnel and payroll services. These functions are coordinated centrally at the Main SPTC clinic, as are out-sourced custodial and maintenance services for each clinic.
A marketing coordinator also reports directly to Matt. About 65% of the patients seen at SPTC are referred by local physicians, so maintaining strong relationships with local medical providers is essential for SPTC’s long-term prosperity. Along with Matt, the three clinic directors, the clinic administrator, and the marketing coordinator comprise the SPTC leadership team. Additionally, at each clinic, managers oversee the clinic’s routine physical therapy services and rehabilitation services, and directly supervise the work of the physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, and athletic trainers employed at each clinic.
Lawanda was the clinic director at the Murray clinic for four years and successfully oversaw growth of the clinic’s surgical rehabilitation practice. Then, abruptly, the clinic director at the Downtown clinic left under a cloud of suspicion that involved sexual harassment claims against him by two of the female massage therapists. Matt asked Lawanda to take over leadership responsibilities for the Downtown clinic and to address leadership and managerial needs of the understandably dispirited staff.
Just the Facts
Through discussions with Matt, interviews with the four departmental managers who now report to her, and open forum dialogues with clinic staff, Lawanda has discovered the following:
- Client feedback surveys have shown a downward trend in patient satisfaction with service provided at the Downtown clinic. The biggest concerns come from patients using the occupational therapy department, which represents the largest number of patient service interactions for the clinic. Patient concerns include difficulty scheduling appointments, late appointments, and impolite staff who rush them through their treatment. Patients who rated other clinic services at the Downtown clinic such as physical therapy, massage therapy, and athletic training didn’t identify the same concerns with staff interactions, but they also pointed to difficulty scheduling appointments at the clinic.
- A recent staff survey suggests that Downtown clinic staff enjoy the work they do, but feel pressured to hurry through appointments because of tight schedules. They also reported concerns about relationships with their managers, including some managers who reportedly micro-manage their staff, and other managers who are largely unavailable to help out when needed. Over the past year, the Downtown clinic has hired several new staff members in the physical, massage, and occupational therapy departments, and dissatisfaction among staff is disproportionately higher among newer hires.
- The manager of physical therapy has been out on maternity leave and subsequently decided not to return to her job. The previous clinic director narrowed the number of applicants to replace the manager to three individuals. One of the final candidates is a physical therapist at the clinic who has been acting as the interim manager while the previous manager was away from her job. A final decision needs to be made on the candidate to fill this important managerial position.
- The allegations of sexual harassment against the previous clinic director are common knowledge among clinic staff, even though the investigation of the allegations is being handled confidentially by an outside HR consulting team. Everyone in the clinic seems to have an opinion about what happened and who is to blame, which has led to tensions and hostilities between colleagues. Some hold the former clinic director accountable, and others are loyal to the previous director and believe the allegations are unfounded. Clinic managers have not been able to curtail the gossip, even though they have tried, which has led to mistrust of colleagues and leadership, skepticism about whether employees are valued, and negative attitudes and behaviors among the staff. Motivation seems to be quite low.
- Although the Downtown clinic is stable financially (as is the entire SPTC organization), there have been accusations of financial malfeasance or impropriety in the use of clinic supplies and equipment for personal benefit. Employees may use clinic facilities for personal fitness and treatments, such as using the whirlpool, or using athletic training equipment to work out before or after work, and then showering in the small changing area of the gym. However, some of the therapists have been providing therapeutic services for family and friends outside clinic hours but using clinic facilities. The previous clinic director did so himself and turned a blind eye to this practice among other staff, even though the employee handbook stipulates that clinic facilities and supplies are not to be used to provide services to individuals who are not actual patients at the clinic.
- All healthcare service providers nationwide have been mandated by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) to convert paper medical record systems to electronic format. Failure to do so will affect provider Medicare reimbursement. The SPTC clinics are in the process of converting their medical record system to electronic format, but not without some difficulty. Staff have been resistant to the change, and progress has been slower than desired because of challenges working with the consulting firm helping to implement the conversion. Each clinic director is responsible for training staff to begin to use the new system, but the previous clinic director of the Downtown clinic had made little progress in developing a plan to manage the conversion prior to his departure from the clinic. Staff are still using paper records because they haven’t been trained to use the new system, and concerns about the ramifications of failing to comply with HSS directives are mounting.
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