Archive for category: Practice Manager of the Month

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

Carie Free, Practice Administrator
Chatuge Family Practice

Carie Free is the Practice Administrator at Chatuge Family Practice located just over the border into North Carolina in Hayesville.  The practice is run a bit different than most doctors’ offices.  Chatuge Family Practice is a rural practice non-profit 501c3.  It is run by a community board of 19.  The doctors do not own the practice, nor are they the boss; both doctors and practice manager are employees and answer to the board and the community.  The practice has a team approach to total health care and provide a variety of services from acupuncture, acute care for adults and children, dermatology, family planning, lab testing, minor surgery, and well visits.

Carie was raised in the medical management environment. Her grandmother worked in administration at the local hospital, and her mother managed several medical offices. So she knew this would be her path as well. She started working for an Internal Medicine group at the age of 15.  Carie started in Medical Records in high school and after college came back and worked her way up to Billing Manager.  She finished her Degree in Health Care Management and became an office manager for a local Orthopedic.  When his practice was bought, she became an employee of the hospital.  When Chatuge Family Practice had some financial/leadership troubles, Carie was asked to step in and manage the practice.

The two tips that Carie would provide to other Practice Administrators is to accept change and have a big picture mindset.   She states, “You can get caught up sometimes in the little details, and it will bog you down. I try to get the big picture in my head and then collaborate with others to get those fine details down but without a vision your practice will no longer be viable.” Carie knows that medical is constantly changing whether it’s the alphabet soup game, trying to stretch each dollar, staying in compliance, or juggling the insurance companies.  She warns other Practice Managers and Providers that complaining too much and fighting the system is truly a losing battle.  Accept the change and be the ‘poster child’ for the program so that you can help your employees to embrace the change to keep the focus on helping the patient.  She enjoys the constant change and fixing problems as she gets bored if everything is running too smoothly. Carie feels that she has gained her best advice and knowledge from scripture reading of the bible and prayer life. She treats others like she would want to be treated and she would never expect them to do a job that she wouldn’t do herself.

Carie’s passion and hard work in her job are noticed by the doctors that work around her.  Dr. Jill Brinke states, “I think the reason I like working with Carie so much and the reason she is so good at her job, besides being organized, motivated and resourceful, is that I know that I’m appreciated.  Or more specifically the work I do is appreciated.  She understands the complexity of our job and realizes it is more than just diagnosis and prescription writing.  We are trying to heal people and give them better quality of life.  She shares that focus and is an amazing advocate for our patients.  We are incredibly blessed to have Carie and I am so glad she’s here!”  Similarly, Dr. Heaver shared, “She has worked long (uncompensated) hours, taken the initiative, researched and generally bird-dogged ways of providing services for our patients and community–grants, collaborations, etc., all while keeping us afloat! Kudos!!!”

Carie understands the benefit of working with others and building relationships in groups such as Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organization (ACO.) She believes in sharing her knowledge and learning from others on how best to manage the practice.  Her nominator, Bart Segal Tri-Med Solutions, has been one of the valuable partners she trusts.  She met Bart at an on-site workshop for the software company on meaningful use.  Her representative did not show, but she heard Bart speak and sought him out with additional questions. As she says, “Bart is truly one of a kind and his company is as well.” One of the best things about Bart is that he is just like an extension of her office.  He is genuine, honest, and visible such that her employees know who he is and if there are issues, Bart and his company are the people she calls first. Carie knows that if his team cannot figure out the solution then they pull from their network of other VARS to get that answer.

Carie is active in her community.  She is a Sunday school teacher for teenagers and loves to sing in the choir. Her six year old daughter also keeps her active as team mom for cheerleading and going to Girl Scouts and Basketball. Her daughter also does natural pageants and works very hard for the community service awards that are with pageantry.

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

2016_04_pmDebbie Roddenberry, Practice Administrator
Southern Crescent Breast Specialists, PC

Debbie Roddenberry is the Practice Administrator at Southern Crescent Breast Specialists in Stockbridge Georgia. The practice was founded by Dr. Davis Timbert in 2003, and Debbie enjoys being part of the practice. She is part of a practice that detects and treats breast cancer and can help save someone’s life. She enjoys helping patients that are referred from their OB/GYN and looking for support, answers, and action through ultrasound, mammograms, and core biopsy to determine the type of breast cancer and treatment plan. Previously, Debbie worked as the Director of Outpatient Imaging at Southern Regional Medical Center, and then with the Southern Crescent Physician Group.

Debbie’s tips to other practice administrators are to surround yourself with knowledgeable and dependable staff. If you have dependable people around you, then you know the job is getting done in a quality and efficient manner. Debbie can depend on her staff to do their jobs knowing the work is getting done without having to follow-up or keep up with errors. The staff receives continual training through seminars, webinars, and support from Piedmont as they are on the same system. Her other suggestion for success is to treat everyone fairly. When people get upset, they just want to be heard. They need to vent their frustration. When treating these situations with respect and compassion, the tension can be diffused and others know you are working with them and not against them.

Debbie has learned something from each and every job she has had, each and every boss. One boss stands out in particular when he told her to always bring humor to the situation. With a little touch of humor, an intense situation can be diffused. As you listen, treat the person fairly so they find the good in the situation and turn it into a solvable solutions rather than just a heated argument.

In asking Dr. Davis Scott Timbert what he likes best working with Debbie, he responded, “As you know, private practice medicine/surgery encounters new challenges every day from insurance companies, from employee issues, and from patient issues. Debbie has the practice administration knowledge to look after both the interests of the patient and the practice. She maximizes our revenue stream with an insurance verification process that eliminates the incidence of seeing patients with terminated insurance and identifies deductible payments needing to be collected at the time of service. I think she does a great job as Practice Administrator.”

When Debbie leaves work, she likes to focus her passion into travel, cooking and reading. She has been to Alaska twice and ready to go back again. She also loves Arizona. She enjoys being in nature surrounded by mountains and animals. Her kitchen expertise lies more in baking than cooking having fun with desserts and soufflés. She has been married to her husband for 38 years, and they have a cat Tuxedo who is 14 years old. Her travels take her west, but her home has been Georgia for the last 31 years. She has always been in the southeast living in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Debbie Roddenberry was nominated by Sheila Fox-Lovell of Shandy Graphics. Debbie has known Sheila for 20 years where they first met in the technology industry. They have stayed in contact, even enjoying dinners throughout the year. Debbie knows that when she needs something, she just calls Sheila.

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

Angela Anderson, Practice Manager
Southern Gastroenterology Associates

Angela Anderson joined the Southern Gastroenterology Associates team in March 2013. She has lived in Georgia for 14 years and worked as a practice administrator in other locations and specialties including North Fulton Eye Center, Heritage OBGYN in Gainesville, and DeKalb Gastroenterology. Before coming to Georgia, she was in Kansas City, MO but decided to move when her daughter was looking at colleges in Georgia.

The biggest influence on Angela and her passion for medicine was when she was five years old and her grandfather was ill. She remembers wanting to be the nurse and take care of him. She had tremendous support from her mom and dad to do anything she set her mind to. Her parents wanted her to go to college, and Angela also knew that education was important. She got her undergraduate degree and continued on for a two year program in hospital and health administration. Some told her that hospital administration is a man’s field, but she knew she could do it and encourages others to stay steady on course and they can accomplish anything. She passes this same strong will to her kids.

Angela has a general interest in medicine, but has really enjoyed working for the specialties and focusing in on a particular patient issue. With Gastroenterology, she appreciates the knowledge she has accumulated through the years in gastrointestinal disease. She finds it straight forward to identify patients who have issues, help them avoid issues, and get them on the right path in the disease process to get better.

Two tips that Angela has for her peers are communication and honesty. The first step in communication is to listen. She listens to her patients, staff, and doctors. She works collaboratively with the doctors and owners of the practice to understand the direction they want to see the practice go. Then she can offer her knowledge of the craft to present ideas on how they can achieve those goals. With honesty, Angela finds it important that each individual is honest with themselves and their skill sets. They need to be truthful in what they know and don’t know and be open to learn. Most importantly, people should trust you.

In her spare time, Angela has become a walker. She enjoys being outdoors and active. She used to be a tennis player and is thinking about dusting off her racquet and playing again.

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

201510_DavidNye_PMOMSep2015David Nye, Practice Administrator
Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

David Nye joined the Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery as his first job out of college after receiving a business administration degree.  He has been there for 28 years and has seen many changes in the healthcare industry and growth for the practice.  The practice currently has four surgeons, staff of 35, and two locations; one in Augusta and one North Augusta, SC.

David enjoys every day being different.  There is always a challenge to the day and an opportunity to be a champion/problem solver.  He likes to help bring resolution to the problem at hand and balance when to get involved and when to lead from behind and allow the staff to work the details.  David notes that he had developed a great relationship with the senior doctor since the beginning, which allows him to flourish.

In asking Dr. Tony Neal what he likes best working with David, his response was “I enjoy working with David Nye because he does his job well. He is able to deal with the present, and yet he is always looking to the future. He is efficient, making complex activities seem effortless and enjoyable.  Most importantly, David is an encourager, helping each member of the team to excel at their jobs. He is a blessing!”

As for suggestions for other practice administrators, David recommends that you surround yourself with competent people.  To be successful, you want to be surrounded by others passionate about healthcare.  Be sure that you have the right tools, continuing education, and lots of support.  Education is more than formal schooling, David recommends “knowing the industry, reading related industry articles and business trends.  Be well read in all areas so that you can work towards solutions whether it is with a patient, IT, or a vendor.”

Outside of the office, David seeks adventure.  He enjoys mountain climbing.  He first started in the western United States with a friend. He then tried ice climbing in New England, where he really caught the climbing bug and wanted to be more adventurous.  He enjoys planning climbing trips in Europe and tries to find places he’ll be successful.  David is married with three older children.

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

ElaineDiMaggioElaine DiMaggio is the practice manager for North Atlanta Dermatology and has been there since the practice opened its doors in 1999. What’s even more amazing is that she had no medical background when she started!

During her tenure, the practice has grown to 4 offices, 6 physicians, 12 total providers and a current staff of 94. There are a few factors that can be attributed to this growth; Elaine credits her doctors for trusting her and giving her the freedom to manage and grow the practice. She is grateful for that. In addition, she is extremely loyal to her vendors. She truly sees them as partners and this has contributed to the growth the practice has experienced.

When asked about some tips she could share with other practice managers, she was said, “Make sure your physicians have confidence in you to do your job.” She also felt it was important to “know how to lead, not just manage a practice”. In addition, she felt it was important to get both input and feedback from supervisors and staff prior to making a decision. “Great people working together can make a great practice” are words to live by.

What advice could she give to other practice managers? “For a large medical practice such as ours, I have 4 supervisors under me who all have an excellent work ethic and together we run the practice. We must keep up with all the changes from the government, CMS, Meaningful Use, PQRS, HIPAA, Security Rules, HR, etc. and then we plan periodic meetings with all providers to go over the changes and keep them up to date.  As a practice manager, you must work for your providers but also the employees.  The medical profession has had a tremendous amount of changes and everyone in the practice is now doing more work than they ever had to do because of all these changes and the changes keep on coming. This includes Medical Assistants now having to be certified, laser techs now have to be certified. I could go on and on, but I wanted to be sure I said this because I run this practice as if I own it and my supervisors are very important and we all will work nights and weekends to get work done and make any necessary changes.”

Elaine loves to travel with her husband of 43 years, who is retired and loves computers. When she started working at North Atlanta Dermatology, she know nothing about computers, and now she does everything with them.

 

 

Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

201507_managerElaine Benuck, Practice Administrator
Olansky Dermatology Associates

Elaine Benuck has been with Olansky Dermatology Associates for five years. Prior to this position, she was the practice manager for another dermatology practice and has been in the industry since 1980. She started her career with billing collections then management with Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN. She grew up in Nashville, lived some time in Memphis, returned to Nashville, and now here in Atlanta, GA.

Elaine most enjoys the comradery of the people at her job. The physicians and staff are all good people without egos, and everyone helps each other out. It’s a joy to come to work and say hello to everyone with a smile on her face. Her management style is to do anything to help out her staff or a patient. By leading by example, her staff follows suit. She doesn’t expect her staff to do anything she wouldn’t be willing to step in and do.

Some tips that she has used well in her role and can offer to others came from her husband. The first phrase is “Be Firm but Fair”, and the second is “Be in Control, not Controlling.” She takes these to heart each day and believes that by letting her staff know her expectations allows everyone to do their job successfully. Elaine’s focus is on the better patient experience. If the patient is questioning a bill or is trying to get in on a tight day to see a physician, it’s her role to be patient centered and help make it work. It’s important to be patient focused and by being focused on them makes the practice run more smoothly and effectively.

In asking Dr. Jodi Ganz what she likes best working with Elaine, her response was “Elaine always anticipates. She knows what is needed in the office, she knows when healthcare changes will affect us, and she knows what individual staff members need in terms of growth and guidance. On a personal note, she is a pleasure to collaborate with on projects. A meeting with Elaine is a brain-storming session until we get it ‘right.’ Her energy and love of her job is contagious. I love working with Elaine every day that I come to the office!”

The healthcare industry brings with it a lot of changes, constantly. Elaine stays up to date by talking with vendors, listening to webinars, and going to seminars. Her success has been through trial and error and learning from her mistakes and moving on from them.

Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

Linda PopowitzThe HST team is about “professionals dedicated to the success of medical practices.” Each month, we recognize a practice manager who shares our passion and success in doing this, and provide you her or his advice.

Linda Popowitz started at Georgia Dermatology Center as Practice Administrator in 2009. Prior to her current position, she spent over 22 years in the dental field. Her dental experience included assisting (general and surgical), dental supply sales, administration, and working in all facets of specialized dentistry from orthodontics to periodontics.

Linda says the most gratifying aspect of her role at Georgia Dermatology Center is being a mentor to her staff and co-workers. Throughout her career in the medical and dental fields she has had numerous mentors who gave her direction, and the gift of their time and talents to help her grow personally. Her greatest joy is helping people grow to their fullest potential and sharing her time and talents with them. Linda says, “Staff members continue to amaze me with their capabilities and accomplishments when you just take a little time to guide and encourage them.”

When asked what tips she has for her colleagues about being a successful practice manager, Linda had this to say:

“You are of no value to yourself or anyone else if you burn out. Our positions are very demanding and we must always remind ourselves to take a break from all of the stresses in our lives and relax. No one will die if you are not in the office for the day! It also helps to turn off the day at the door when you get home – no emails or phone calls during the evening.

“Our work as managers and administrators keeps changing and evolving through all of the required governmental changes and regulations, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a peer for help. I have a network of administrators in both specialties and primary care, and we all help each other with questions, problems, and concerns. It also is imperative to join management groups to stay informed and focused. I personally belong to two dermatology management groups and also MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) which has levels locally, state wide, and nationally. These groups help me personally grow and they also keep me informed to any updates and announcements that affect healthcare.”

Linda went on to say that administrators and managers are responsible for leading the team, and the staff expects it. If she is not informed on regulations and requirements, the entire practice can suffer in the long run. Staying refreshed and well informed helps to make sure that the staff has a strong leader to guide them.

One of the doctors Linda worked for back in the 80’s always said, “Treat patients right and take care of them – the money will come. Money is not the first priority in taking care of patients”. Linda says, “That has always proven true. If you care for patients the right way, they will keep coming back and they will be your best source of referrals. We have many families now that are patients and refer their friends and entire neighborhoods to us. That is what it is all about – working our purpose in life! That is success!”

When Linda is not at work she loves to cook, as she finds it very relaxing. She also has a great passion for nutrition and exercise. “I have found over the years that I personally run much better and healthier when I make it a point to eat well and exercise daily. I find exercise to be a great stress reliever after a long hard day.”

Please join us in congratulating Linda Popowitz for being selected as Healthcare Services Team’s Practice Manager of the Month!

Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

201503_AnneCampbellThe HST team is about “professionals dedicated to the success of medical practices.” Each month, we recognize a practice manager who shares our passion and success in doing this, and provide you her or his advice.

 

Anne Campbell
My OBGYN

Anne Campbell is entering her 12th year as Practice Manager at My OBGYN, PC which has offices in Riverdale and McDonough. She brings to her job as a practice manager elements from her teaching background. Drawing on that prior teaching experience she enjoys helping people learn whether it is a staff member learning how to do his or her job or patients who are learning what they need to know as part of the process of having a baby. Working in sports taught her the importance of bringing everyone in the practice together to work as a team. As a part of that experience in team sports she enjoys the challenge of not only assembling a team but maintaining her practice staff team, making sure that it   works together.

Anne believes that providing the staff with constant opportunities to learn is an important part of any practice manager’s job description. She believes that the staff is constantly looking to the practice manager for guidance and it is critical that the practice manager see those needs for direction and for the manager to provide that direction. She believes that another important attribute of a practice manager is patience. When giving direction and teaching your staff it is important to remember that everyone learns differently and at different rates. A practice manager must understand that fact and use that understanding to get their direction and training across to their staff. If the staff is given good direction by a manager who also practices compassion it goes a long way towards having a staff that works well together and toward staff retention. Staff retention according to Anne is critically important for the sake of the practice but it is also important for patients to see the same people year after year. A patient visit is stressful enough on its own but if patients see people they know, staff who know them, it makes the visit a little less stressful.

Anne graduated from The University of Tennessee where she worked as a student trainer and later as a graduate assistant trainer in the women’s basketball program. As a part of her training she received a certification as an athletic trainer which involves a heavy emphasis on physical therapy. After  leaving Tennessee she went to work as the director of the business office for a large multi-specialty practice in Greenville, South Carolina which had 27 doctors and 5 locations. Later she came back to Atlanta and worked for East Cobb Pediatrics as their Practice Manager. Prior to coming to My OBGYN she was director of rehabilitation for a pain management practice where she again drew on her college experience as an athletic trainer.

Anne feels that she has taken something from every place she has worked. Her early inspiration and direction came from her mother and her mother’s two sisters who were all nurses. Through her exposure to them she had an early exposure to healthcare.  While she can’t think of any specific pieces of advice that came out of seeing her mother and aunts in healthcare she knows that exposure was one of the things which guided her path. Also she worked with the legendary Pat Summit,  head coach of Tennessee’s women’s basketball program. In Anne’s words it would be impossible not to take away from exposure to such an incredible role model tidbits of advice and life lessons which are invaluable. Anne says that Pat Summit’s drive was an inspiration to everyone who came into contact with her as was her penchant for treating everyone fairly. Anne has incorporated that ideal of “fair treatment” into all her relationships at My OBGYN.

When not at the practice Anne enjoys gardening, particularly vegetable gardening and can be found this time of year readying her garden for the next planting season. She also likes woodworking. She has a shop and has done ‘”fun projects” such as building the raised beds for her gardening hobby. Her other hobby is making homemade bread. She makes homemade sour dough bread and is experimenting with other bread recipes.

One of the partners in her practice Dr. Letitia Royster described Anne’s importance by saying “Anne has successfully taken us through several very difficult transitions. She continues to be diligent with keeping us up to date as well as placing us in the best or most advantageous positions in this environment of changing healthcare. That allows us to provide our patients with the outstanding care and service.”

Congratulations to Anne for what she brings to her practice and for her selection as Healthcare Services Team’s Practice Manager of the Month.

Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

201502_managerofthemonthLeslie N. Fortson, Practice Manager
Vein Specialists of the South

 

How long have you been at this practice and what were you doing prior to being here?

I have been the practice manager for 9 years, and prior to that, I was a practice manager for another vein specialist in Columbia, SC for about 1 ½ years.

 

What do you enjoy about your job?

I really like working with the people in our offices and with the patients that we serve. I like to help people grow and see them reach their potential. With my staff, I try to expand their roles and current capabilities, and help them learn a new skill set. People like to be challenged and feel as though they have progressed and accomplished something. I like helping them get there.

 

What 2 tips can you off your colleagues about being a successful practice manager?

  • Focus on your team– Invest resources (time and money) on your staff to keep them current and feeling as part of the team. I try to make sure they stay as informed as possible.
  • Perspective – When you approach issues or problems within the practice, you have a choice; to be positive or negative. We have built a culture where our approach is always to be positive. I like to think of this culture and effort as our “internal marketing”.

 

How is this important or valuable to the practice?

We try to model our practice environment as if it were a Ritz-Carlton. That starts with what we call “WOW” service, and an expectation that we truly care about our patients in every way. At a Ritz-Carlton there is never any negativity, and every service or task is not a problem to the customer. At our patients’ first visit, they find out everything they need to know – we leave nothing to chance, and no surprises. It is this mentality that has allowed us to maintain a near 100% satisfaction rating among our patient base.

 

Who gave you advice about being successful and what was their advice to you?

I have a business coach who I meet with every week to discuss a variety of things. Because he is not medical specific, he gives me perspective on how to deal with people and expectations, as well and good ideas that I can implement within the practice.

 

What hobbies or special interests do you have?

With the little spare time I have, I spend it with my 5 year old son who keeps me busy.

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month


The HST team is about “professionals dedicated to the success of medical practices.” Each month, we recognize a practice manager who shares our passion and success in doing this, and provide you her or his advice.

Maggie Foda
Children’s Cardiovascular Medicine

Maggie Foda Practice Manager at Children’s Cardiovascular Medicine has two distinctions which make her unique among practice mangers in Atlanta. She has probably traveled the farthest to get where she is, having grown up in Alexandria, Egypt. The second distinction is that prior to becoming a practice manager she practiced medicine as a doctor in Egypt.

Maggie enjoys utilitizing the experience she has acquired both as a doctor and her years as a practice manager to get things done. Everyday she enjoys tackling problems and resolving issues with the idea of keeping the practice moving in the right direction.

Upon coming to this country in 1991 Maggie worked with a community health center in Houston, Texas in various capacities. She was the Associate Director of Patient Services before becoming the Practice Manager of the Center’s largest clinic. That community health center was a multi specialty organization practicing family practice, pediatrics, obstetrics and orthopedics.

Maggie believes that it is critically important that a successful practice manager be “hands on”. She has personally done every job in the practice which she believes is key to providing good support to her staff. Being hands on gives her a better perspective on what everyone in the practice is doing. Having done every job she knows what is involved with that particular job and how long activities in that job should take. Using that understanding allows her to be fair in assessing a staff member’s work performance. She believes that it makes the staff feel good to know that she is not above what they do but as she puts it “ she just has a different job title.” She believes it is important for a practice manager to be fair and objective in assessing her staff. She believes it is important that a practice manager keep the owners of the practice up to speed on the major issues facing the practice while not burdening them with the mountain of details which a practice manager must oversee.

The inspiration for Maggie’s medical career comes from the first doctor she worked with after coming to this country. That doctor she worked with started out as a nurse and did every job on the clinical side of the practice. That doctor led by example and she taught Maggie the importance of being hands on, a lesson Maggie has never forgotten.

When she is not at the practice Maggie loves to read. She admits to being a shopaholic and not necessarily a recovering one. She also likes going to museums and plays. She is a good cook, a talent she doesn’t mind practicing when she is not worn out by a long day at the practice.

Maggie has two sons both of whom live in the US. One of her sons is an engineer with Dell Computer. The other son is looking for that perfect job having earned a degree in history. His area of study was a particularly interesting period in Egypt’s long history.

The Managing Physician for the practice Dr. Eduardo Montaña described Maggie’s importance to the practice by saying ”I couldn’t run a medical practice without her.” He went on to say that Maggie is the “eyes and ears of our practice” and the ”soul of the practice.”

Hearing Dr. Montana’s description of Maggie Foda makes it easy to see that she is a very successful practice manager. Congratulations Maggie for the work you do and for your selection as Healthcare Services Team’s Practice Manager of the Month.

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