Different strokes for different folks

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Dec 01, 2005

Q. The doctor doesn't apply practice policies consistently. How can I ask for fair treatment?


Roger Cummings
"Any policy will apply only in about 80 percent of situations," says Roger Cummings, CVPM, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a practice management consultant with Brakke Consulting Inc. in Dallas. "There will always be exceptions. So think about whether you're really seeing favoritism before you approach the doctor." For example, he says, a co-worker might be late to work because she had a flat tire—that's a reasonable exception.

However, Cummings says exceptions aren't always appropriate. "For example, in most policy manuals, animal abuse or theft are grounds for immediate dismissal," he says. A tip for managers: When you make an exception, explain why you did—and why you wouldn't normally bend the rules.

If your manager fails to apply the rules consistently, Cummings suggests keeping a log to track the exceptions and dates and discuss it with your manager. "When you bring up this issue, it's vital to have a conversation that's not personally confrontational," Cummings says. "So focus on the goals that you and your manager share, and talk about the benefits to the team of changing your approach instead of presenting the problem as a slight aimed at you."