"Departmental Policy and Procedure on Leave of Absence" is a good example of a paper on the health system. Leave of absence is a policy area that calls for elucidation in every functional work environment. For the manager of a Health Informatics Management (HIM) department, it is like balancing the collective needs of the department and the society at large with those of the employee who might need the leave. The need for a leave of absence is thus a relativistic issue. In certain cases, when a leave of absence is not granted to an employee, his/her overall performance might be affected.
This is particularly true in the case a working adult suffers from some sort of chronic pain and may require long term medical intervention. Patients suffering from diseases such as musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia, etc. may need long term medical intervention and hence genuinely require leave of absence for long term (Karjalainen et al, 1999). Moreover, if an employee desperately needs a leave of absence but his or her leave application is turned down, his productivity may fall due to lack of concentration, frustration, chronic ailment, etc.
In such cases of deteriorating productivity, the direct advantages to the department by not granting leave may not finally outweigh the overall indirect disadvantages of granting leave (Markussen et al, 2011). Therefore, the manager must be highly cautious while deciding on the leave application. If the manager is too liberal, employees in a department like that of HIM may start making excuses and even build emotional pressure. If the manager is too strict, employees with high level IT expertise may suddenly resign leading to irrecoverable manpower shortage.
A proper leave of absence policy can be based on reliable administrative data as provided by certain government agencies in managing their employees. According to the Hanover County Board of Supervisors (2011), there are tentatively 12 categories of leave of absence. These are administrative leave, annual leave, civil leave, compensatory leave, dock leave, educational leave, extended sick leave, family and medical leave, leave without pay, military leave, sick leave, and workers’ compensation leave (Hanover County Board of Supervisors, 2011, p. 35). All these categories of leave can be directly applied to an HIM department. Another general framework of processing leave applications must be applied to the department.
The availability of paid leave must be increased with the experience of the employee in order to prevent the attrition of experienced staff. In other words, the number of workdays available as paid leave must vary directly as the employee’ s years of service. (Hanover County Board of Supervisors, 2011) However, the HIM department has its own characteristic obligations and constraints related to knowledge management, bioinformatics research, and high level IT expertise including networking, database administration, etc.
Overall, HIM specialists have cross-disciplinary qualifications and capabilities, which make them highly sought after technical professionals (AHIMA, 2013). Therefore, the departmental manager must deal with employee issues empathetically and specifically. The manager must study each of the cases of leave application carefully and as quickly as possible. Next, he or she must have decretory rights on deciding a leave application as much as necessary to decide exceptional cases. Last but not least, health problems related to leaving applications, particularly those which might be related to workplace stress should be adjudged most sensitively.
The manager must act on humanitarian grounds particularly when it comes to the employee’ s health such as chronic ailment factors.
AHIMA. (2013, January 1). AHIMA Home - American Health Information Management Association. AHIMA Home - American Health Information Management Association. Retrieved February 15, 2013, from http://www.ahima.org/
Hanover County Board of Supervisors. (2011). Human Resource Policies. Hanover: Hanover County Department of Human Resources.
Karjalainen, K.A., Malmivaara, A., van Tulder, M.W., Roine, R., Jauhiainen, M., Hurri, H. and Koes, B.W. (1999). Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal pain in working age adults, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2 (3) Art. No.: CD001984. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001984.
Markussen, S., Røed, K., Røgeberg, O. and Gaure, S. (2011). The anatomy of absenteeism, Journal of Health Economics, 30 (2)