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As I wandered through Barnes & Noble bookstore at River Park, I heard a parent say to her teenage daughter, “It’s summer! Perfect time to pick up some new books to read.” She punctuated the sentence with words that made me smile. “Hurry up” she prodded. But who can hurry when they’re in a bookstore? Not me; And certainly not the 14-year-old who wandered off into the paperback aisle of romance novels.
My goal was to find a juicy mystery to read next to the pool. I finally decided to go “old school” with one of the most recognized mystery writers, fellow Californian Sue Grafton. Ms. Grafton, now 72 years old, lives in Montecito and is famous for writing the “alphabet series” mysteries- starting with “A is for Alibi”. I was intrigued even further when I learned that following graduation from college, she worked in healthcare as an admissions clerk and a medical secretary. Interesting right? Could it be that she found healthcare as mysterious and complex as, perhaps our patients do?
While I had experienced the admitting process myself when I gave birth to my son, I have to admit (no pun intended), I was clueless about how important this department is to our patients and to Community. With a few visits and phone calls I found out some interesting facts.
Like the board game, our hospital system is complex enough to cause confusion unless a few “Clues” are provided and that’s where our patient reps come in. David Arguijo, Director of Admitting at Community Regional shared that patients and their family members who arrive at Admitting often are under a great deal of stress. They may not understand why they are asked to confirm information like address, and insurance details when they’ve provided this data before. With great patience and demonstrating superb listening skills, the patient reps convey that “getting it right up front” will make things work more smoothly when the patient arrives on the nursing floor.
I also found out how critical the Admitting team is to our finances. Daniel Alanis, the Director of Admitting at Clovis, told me that one of his superstars collected a $35,000 check on the spot from a Canadian patient. This kind of diligence is incredibly important to Community, when you think about the $12 million in charity care that was provided to our patients in 2011.
The phrase above is an Agatha Christie mystery title, but it also captures the spirit of the Admitting department at Clovis. None of the patients who check in at Community hospitals leave without receiving expert guidance, service and support. The people on our Admitting teams have unique skills that make them highly effective. The roles they play include financial advisor, navigator, co-pilot, therapist, and I’m going to add this one myself because it’s pretty visual – spelunker (you know… the people who explore dark caves and don’t get lost).
We all know that we measure our patient satisfaction. And you’ve probably heard the phrase, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. So I wondered just how many great first impressions our admitting folks were making in a year and what I found out was jaw-dropping:
Please take a second, if you know one of our admitting staff, and write a note of congrats here in the comments for the great job they are doing. Anyone who does (please list your name so we can get in touch with you) will receive a $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble bookstore.
(P.S. – You folks in admitting should feel free to congratulate each other! And thanks for your hospitality!)