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Message from the President

Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards

With another year half over, one can either be happy with all that has been accomplished or stressed by everything that still needs to be done. Or, like me, feel both at the same time. Wrapping up big work projects always gives a sense of accomplishment, even if there is another one looming right around the corner. At my practice that means being proud that I finally finished changing an old chart and storage room into an exam room, redecorating the waiting room, refreshing the waiting room chairs, and finding a new shredding and office supply company. On the flip side, I’m still working on revamping our website and getting a new phone system, among many other smaller projects.

Keeping a good work/life balance with so many balls in the air takes a lot of effort. Not letting work stressors invade time with family and friends is a juggling act for all salaried practice managers. I have been actively looking for creative outlets to maximize downtime. I have started listening to audiobooks in the car for my daily I-270 commute, working on a cross stitch for my new niece, and continuing my yoga practice with the summer season’s standup paddleboard yoga.  

Between work projects, backing up short-staffed departments, and home life; I know it can be easy to slip down into stress and burn out very fast. Even the most experienced practice manager can feel overwhelmed at times. The unexpected always happens and sometimes it comes from multiple directions at once.

I am looking forward to our August monthly meeting which will deal with this issue head on: “Stress…Burnout…An Occupational Hazard of many Managers…Especially in Healthcare.” Beth Hillestad of St. Luke’s Hospital will definitely be hitting the nail on the head when she discusses how much attention the physician burnout problem receives versus leadership/staff burnout. National MGMA has done two Stat polls this year surrounding burnout. On June 26th, MGMA Stat asked, ‘Do You Feel Burnt Out at Your Job?’ 45% said Yes, 28% said Somewhat, and 27% said No (with 1,733 responses). On February 20th, they asked ‘Does Your Organization Have an Engagement Program to Reduce Burnout?’ 71% said No, 10% said In Progress, 10% said Yes, for all staff, and 9% said Yes, for doctor’s only (with 1,030 responses). From those two polls alone, one can see that leadership and staff are feeling burnt out but we are overwhelmingly doing nothing about it.

At the national, state, and local MGMA levels there are tools for members to lessen burnout in their offices. Sessions at conferences, online webinars, and website articles are all available to start research. Our in-person monthly meeting in August is going to be a great way to not only get a lot of great information from Beth, but also bounce ideas off each other as well. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Barbara Faupel, MA, CMPE
President, Greater St. Louis MGMA 



MGMA of Greater St. Louis
PO Box 16012, St. Louis, MO 63105