Paula Manly runs a tight ship—and this is one of the reasons that she has become such a valuable part of Oklahoma’s Tulsa Surgical ?Arts team. Hired by former American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) president and cosmetic surgeon Angelo Cuzalina, MD, DDS, in 2008, Manly’s role within the practice has grown considerably during the past 7 years. She is now happily tasked with everything and anything from lead conversion, staff hiring and retention, marketing, ordering supplies, organizing live surgery courses, managing payroll, and even decorating the new expanded spa.
Manly’s first foray into practice management was as part of a large ophthalmology group. She knew some about plastic surgery and the surgeons who perform these procedures when Dr Cuzalina first hired her, but today, Manley’s knowledge base has increased so much that she is a frequent lecturer on the AACS circuit.
She is thrilled to have made the switch to cosmetic surgery. “Our patients choose to make positive changes to their body, whether contouring after massive weight loss or a young girl who hated her nose her whole life and waited until she was old enough for a rhinoplasty. These are happy stories with happy endings,” she says. This is not always the case in other areas of medicine.
Moving away from the insurance world was certainly a plus for Manly, who enjoys the less bureaucratic fee-for-service model.
This is not to say Manly doesn’t deal with insurers on occasion. “If someone comes in for a large breast reduction and wants to see how much their insurer will cover, we will help.”
Manly and her team work closely with the patients—and this hand-holding often starts before their consultation. Research has shown that all leads should be followed up quickly or they will die on the vine. Manly prides herself on rapid response to all email and phone inquiries.
“They all come through me, and we take care of them right away,” she says. She also arranges five-star travel and accommodations for out-of-town or even out-of-country patients with the savoir faire of a seasoned travel agent.
Patient-appreciation specials also fall under Manly’s charge.
“The most valuable type of meet-and-greet we do is to send an email invite to patients where we block off time for services and procedures,” she says. “We start at 2 and end at 7, and are booked every 20 minutes and offer refreshments in-between.”
See Manly in person at the AACS 31st Annual Scientific Meeting, January 14-17, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015:
Excellence in Practice Management
2 pm—“Advice from an Experienced Practice Manager”
4 pm—“Friend or Foe? The Owner/Practice Manager Relationship”
Thursday, January 15, 2015:
Staffing for Success
2 pm—“The Right Person for the Right Job”
If there is a position to fill, Manly asks her current staff as well as key vendors for their recommendations. “Finding good people is a very big challenge,” she says. Manly does her due diligence before making a hire, and this includes looking at candidates’ social media profiles. “It does give a glimpse into what you think and do and whom you do it with,” she says.
She also invites promising prospective employees to work at the practice for a day or two as a paid trial. “It helps them as much as it helps us,” she says. There is also a mandatory 90-day probation period for all new-hires.
Another passion of hers, both on the job and off, is decorating. “We are building out an expanded spa and are redoing the upstairs suites for overnight stays, and I get to do it all,” she says.
Cuzalina is well aware that Manly is a gem. “A great office manager makes your life so much easier. You don’t have to worry about payroll, personnel issues, accreditation status, and ordering supplies,” he says. “We talk every day, but have an official meeting weekly to discuss the budget and other issues so there are no surprises,” he says. “She knows I am to be seeing and operating on my patients, and anything else will take away from what I am good at.”
Manly adds: “We are a team.”
Is your practice manager exceptional? Let us know. He or she could be featured in this all-new monthly column. Drop Denise Mann, editor of Plastic Surgery Practice, a line at [email protected].