Disruptive physician behavior in the office setting

Last week a practice administrator posed the following question:"Does anyone have a resource for finding a consultant who specializes in mediating or addressing anger management issues for Physicians?" I replied to her and received back the following response:

"Yes – we have a Physician who is verbally abusive to staff and it is creating a hostile work environment.  The other Physicians met and want to proceed with an intervention to bring his behavior to his attention and work on steps to improve it before we are faced with a lawsuit."

Finding solutions to these types of internal physician problems is often very difficult. I believe this practice is handling it correctly by trying to effect corrective action by meeting with the physician. However, the one thing a practice should always do before attempting anything internally (like an intervention) is to discuss this matter with the practice's legal counsel first. The last thing you want to have happen is a wrongful termination lawsuit by the physician because I's were not dotted and T's were not crossed. Also make sure issues like this are addressed in the termination section of the physician employment agreement. Clear wording really helps in these types of situations.

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