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Career Profile: Medical Assistant - Jill Vroegindewey, CMA

Career Profile: Medical Assistant - Jill Vroegindewey, CMA

What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?

I have no huge aspirations of getting to the next level. I feel it’s been a wonderful ride. I’m happy being in a new position, developing that role. I only intend to work another five to eight years at the most. I don’t intend to slack off, but I don’t have my eye set on another career move. I’m very open. My faith plays a strong role in my professional life – I go where He leads.

Do you feel that is important for someone to be passionate about the healthcare field in order to be successful? Do you think that it’s important to truly enjoy the field in order to be happy in life?

I don’t know how you could do this job without having a heart for people. It would make no sense. It’s what drives me to perform to the very best of my abilities.

The Actual Work

Describe a typical week of work for you. What exactly do you do? What are your key responsibilities? On a basic level, what skills does your job demand?

I make between 15 and 20 calls a week on referring physicians. I’m always working on a publication, such as our quarterly newsletter, or developing a presentation. I get involved with service issues, marketing materials and communications. Identify new referral sources, payers and insurance groups.

I facilitate our Imaging Update luncheons, where we invite referring provider staff and exchange information regarding new radiology procedures and how we can better serve their practice. This event is co-sponsored by our local chapter of medical assistants so we are able to offer continuing education credits toward certification requirements. Usually we have a radiologist speak on a new topic, and then tell them how to schedule for that procedure. The luncheons are becoming quite evolved. The first one we hosted had 15 attendees, and these days, we’re averaging 75 people at each event.

I also work closely with central scheduling at the hospital; I review the “bad orders” with the referrers. Since the scheduling department will not schedule someone for an exam without a “good order,” I call on the physicians offices, meeting with the office managers and physicians to make sure the order is turned into a “good” order; it’s part of the education process to help them help their patients. Whenever possible we want insured patients to receive all the benefits their coverage allows, and submitting clean orders with appropriate coding and documentation substantiating medical necessity of the procedure ordered is the first step in this process.

What are the tools of the trade that you use the most or favorite gadget?

My PDA. I would be lost without it; all of my contact info. And my radiologists’ schedules are in there. Another tool I use is a quarterly report that tracks referring providers by procedure, by month. I use this as research to help make decisions on new equipment, and to call on physicians whose referral patterns have changed – for the better or worse – as well as those who are new referrals.

Has the popularity of the Internet affected your profession?

Web-based film viewing is the biggest impact. We’re also moving to a direction where patients will be able to schedule their own exams, on-line.

What challenges will be addressed by your industry in the next five years?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) frustration. I think we’re killing a lot of trees with the paperwork. It has actually changed the way some people practice. The patients sometimes feel the doctors are losing touch with them – HIPPA takes away one more level of personal attention to the patient.

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