Archive for month: August, 2017

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

SimoneFlack_thbSimone Flack
Practice Manager, Atlanta Clinical Care

Simone Flack is the Practice Manager at Atlanta Clinical Care.  The group has four full time doctors and two mid-levels.  The practice is located near Northside and St. Joseph’s and receives a lot of hospital patient referrals from surgery as they focus on infectious diseases and infusion services.  They also have a travel clinic, Atlanta Travel Medicine, where they provide pre-travel shots to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  Simone has been with the practice for six years.  She worked previously at another medical practice before Atlanta Clinical Care.  Prior to working in the medical field, she worked 20 years in banking, helping doctors and attorneys.  Her combination of medical knowledge and finance has made her a valuable asset for the doctors as they know the practice is running smooth and she ‘knows where the money is.’

Simone has found a different kind of stress working in a doctor’s office versus a bank but finds it rewarding.  She prides herself on providing outstanding customer service and her can-do attitude.  She loves being with people and trying to help them. She enjoys problem solving and that no day is the same.

In any walk of life, Simone knows that to be successful takes a team.  With her role as Practice Manager she does need to view everything at the 30,000 feet level.  But, she understands that it is very important that she knows the different areas in the practice and appreciation for what each person does.  It is important not just to know what they need to do, but also what it takes to do the work and know each person and what they are going through.  Simone states that relating to your fellow employees and showing appreciation helps to earn their respect and empowers them to be successful.  She says that if one link is not working properly, then the whole chain breaks down.  By staying in front of any issues, the work runs smoothly and creates a good environment.

Some of the best advice that Simone received came from a former banking colleague Robert Taylor in South Carolina.  He told her there are many ways to get to the goal; roll with the punches and realize there is not just one way to do it.  Simone keeps this in mind and is open to different views and opinions and tries to incorporate them into her day to day.  If she keeps the goal in sight and knows there different ways to get there, she stays focused and shares the same vision with her colleagues.

Matthew J. McCall, MD at Atlanta Clinical Care states, “Simone is an integral member to our team/family and therefore I cannot use the term “office manager” when it relates to her.  She has been with us for over 5 years and has vastly contributed to the ongoing success which we have been blessed to have. Her diligence, intelligence, and management skills are unparalleled. She wears too many hats with her job duties to describe in a few sentences.  What I can say is that each hat is worn with 100 percent precision and the job(s) are always handled to perfection. The great success of our practice lies greatly on the back of Simone. I cannot imagine being in a practice, or owning a practice, without the assistance of Simone. I would rather this would be a “Practice Manager of the years” nomination, rather than a monthly nomination as it does not do justice to my gratitude to Simone.  The greatest compliment I can give is that if the time ever came for her to have a better opportunity for her or her family, I would have a hard time writing all of my recommendations on a single form as I cannot imagine ever running a business without her.”

Simone’s focus outside of work is keeping up with the lives of her two adult daughters.  One is a registered nurse in California, and the other opened a law firm in Atlanta.  Simone loves to travel, especially to the mountains to ski.  Her list of mountains to conquer is Park City, Smokies, Steamboat, and Heavenly.  She will be meeting her brother in Austria soon and also hopes to travel to Alberta.

Simone Flack was nominated by Sheila Fox-Lovell of Shandy Creative Solutions.  She describes Sheila as the sweetest and most positive person.  The relationship started with business cards, then needed some help to redevelop the website, and just continues to grow.  She appreciates Sheila’s patience as often their projects together will be working on something for a bit, then has to take break to focus on other areas as Practice Manager.   She looks forward to continuing their friendship and business relationship with other future projects.

4 of the Biggest Construction Industry Trends to Watch

Categories: Articles


With 2017 almost halfway through, the construction industry is going through some substantial changes. While spending failed to meet expectations in 2016, Dodge Data & Analytics forecasted a 5% growth in construction starts for 2017.

Here are the top trends for the industry to keep an eye on as we move closer to 2018.

  1. Growth will Improve Moving Towards 2018

The improved growth for 2017 is expected to continue into next year for both residential and non-residential construction.

This is a positive sign after 2016’s growth wasn’t nearly as significant as the previous years. 2014 saw 11% growth, while 2016 ended around 4.4%. Office, healthcare and hospitality/lodging are the industries that are expected to see the largest increase in construction spending this year.

  1. The Labor Shortage Will Continue to Affect the Industry

One trend that has continued through 2017 is the current labor shortage for skilled workers. The trend originated from a large portion of the workforce being forced to exit in search of other job opportunities.  During the recession, skilled laborers moved on after not being able to find work, and unfortunately, a significant chunk has not returned.

Compounding the issue, a lack of technical training and a reduced emphasis on trade labor are contributing to the reduced pool of labor choosing to enter the industry. Combined with an aging workforce as well, those three factors are creating unique challenges for construction firms looking for skilled workers to execute work.

On the bright side, the shortage has created several opportunities for millennials and young people choosing a career path. From skilled trades to project management, the construction industry presents exciting career growth potential.

  1. Construction Costs Will Increase

One common concern for the future is the increasing operating expenses for construction firms due to materials and labor.

After years of relatively slow growth, construction costs were expected to rise in 2017. Inflation is also a concern moving forward because it could slow the rate of new projects in the coming years. The skilled-labor shortage has also added to increased costs with wage increases needed to recruit labor.

If the cost of construction continues to grow, more people will consider postponing new projects until a better time.

  1. Job Sites Will Continue to Become Safer

Moving towards 2018, scrutiny for safety violations will continue to increase as attention to job site safety continues to grow.

The four leading causes of worker deaths in the construction industry are falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and getting caught in/between objects. Construction firms will need to continue to make an increased commitment to protecting workers and reducing accidents.

Provided by Steve Sperling

New HealthCare and Outpatient Facilities Trend Continues to Rise

Categories: Articles


For hospitals across the U.S., lower occupancy rates and higher costs have caused healthcare facilities to rethink how they deliver healthcare to their communities.

Construction of outpatient facilities has significantly risen across the board, according to a 2016 hospital construction survey by Health Facilities Management.

Since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for healthcare reform in 2012, hospitals have been faced with shrinking reimbursements that affect patients with higher deductibles.  This, along with less overnight stays, has created a trend of lower occupancy rates for many hospitals across the country.

These two factors mean healthcare facilities need to think about reinventing the best way to deliver healthcare to their community, as patients seek out solutions that are cost-effective, convenient and timely.

Patients’ access to healthcare information has never been greater, which gives them the ability to make more informed decisions. For healthcare facilities, their consumer base is now highly educated and value conscious.

So, how are healthcare providers responding?

There has been a growing trend to move facilities closer to where patients live and work. That means a move away from bigger, one-size-fits-all hospitals to more community-focused clinics offering more convenience to patients. As healthcare costs continue to increase, this trend is expected to grow due to the cost effectiveness and flexibility of hyper-localization.

Healthcare facilities are now going to retail and hospitality design principles to give their facilities a fresh face that speaks to the new lifestyle design trend across the nation. Facilities are also updating their interior design, with an emphasis on more lighting and fresh interior furnishings, to give patients a more spa-like experience.

All our healthcare clients are concerned about the quality of the patient experience, Eric Schoppman, president of Schoppman Company, said. “This ensures the patient has an enjoyable experience, so they return for another visit if and when required.

As healthcare construction and design continues to evolve, speed and flexibility will be the two most important factors moving forward.  When constructing newer, hyper-localized facilities, the goal is a fast turnaround time to allow healthcare providers to begin servicing patients as soon as possible.  To achieve this goal, greater communication is required from the outset of the project between the owner, design professionals, and general contractor.

Provided by Steve Sperling

Safe Harbor 401(k) Notice

Categories: Articles


Plan participants must be provided with a Safe Harbor notice not earlier than 90 days and not less than 30 days before the beginning of each plan year the Safe Harbor is in effect. There are special rules for new plans and new participants.

New plans. If a new 401(k) plan is established with Safe Harbor provisions and the plan design provides immediate eligibility for deferrals and employer contributions (as of the effective date of the plan), a Safe Harbor notice must be provided anytime between 90 days before the effective date of the plan and the actual effective date of the plan.

Example: An employer adopts a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan effective September 1, 2017. The plan design allows employees immediate eligibility and permits them to make deferrals and receive Safe Harbor matching contributions as of September 1, 2017. The employer must provide the Safe Harbor notice between June 3, 2017, and September 1, 2017.

Newly eligible participants. The same notice time frame applies to a newly eligible participant in an existing Safe Harbor 401(k).

Example: A Safe Harbor 401(k) plan has a six-months-of-service eligibility requirement. A new employee hired on March 31, 2017, will be eligible to enter the plan on October 1, 2017. The employer must provide the Safe Harbor notice no earlier than July 3, 2017, but no later than October 1, 2017.

Special timing rule. There is a special rule for coordinating the notice time period for newly eligible participants with the annual Safe Harbor notice. For Safe Harbor notice purposes, a new employee is defined as an individual who becomes eligible to participate after the 90th day before the beginning of the plan year. Thus, in a calendar-year plan, any employee who becomes eligible to participate between October 2 and December 31 may be provided with a Safe Harbor notice under the new employee rules (i.e., the notice must be provided no sooner than 90 days before the eligibility date but no later than the date of eligibility).

The annual Safe Harbor notice (sent between October 3 and December 2 each year by calendar-year plans) covers all ongoing participants. The same notice will cover employees who become newly eligible through the date the notice is provided. Under the special rule, the annual Safe Harbor notice may be used to satisfy the notice requirements for those who become eligible up to the last day of the plan year.

Provided by Joshua C. Harper of WealthMD and Qualified Plans

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