You can feel her smile through her mask.
When Patient Financial Services Follow-up Brandy Buerkle talks about her work and the satisfaction she derives from it, the air in the room warms as if lightning just struck nearby.
“It’s kind of like a puzzle and sometimes you can just tell when the pieces are gonna fit just right or not, and it’s honestly something I love to do…”
Though she’s only been a Mercyhealth partner for 2 years Brandy has a long history with Mercyhealth as a patient and family of patients – in fact, she was actually born at our Rockton Avenue campus. Brandy knew even from an early age that she wanted to work in health care, and after stints in pre-authorization and customer service positions within the health care field, finally coming to Mercyhealth was simply “her dream job.”
A lifelong Rockford resident and enthusiastic woodworker, restorer, and crafter in her spare time, Brandy’s work as part of our Revenue Cycle team involves resolving discrepancies with patient accounts between the organization, insurance vendors, and patients, and facilitating accurate payments and reimbursement for care and services.
While she jokingly describes herself as a ‘paper pusher,’ Brandy approaches her work within the Revenue Cycle with the same analytical, logical and detail-oriented eye as she does her latest woodworking project.
On the skills to succeed in her role
It helps to have a good understanding of the insurance industry and the rules and terminology that go along with that. My background in pre-authorization helped with that, so I was able to pick-up the terminology and patterns pretty quickly, but with the training we provide partners you can very quickly develop an eye for this language and those patterns. I think having an analytical mind is also important, but it’s also important to go with the flow, be open to new mindsets, and approach each account with a fresh perspective, kind of like a Rubik’s Cube. And even if you find this kind of work isn’t for you, this role really helps you understand the medical industry and trains to think and approach problems from different angles or perspectives, which can help you succeed in other areas of the organization as well.
On the strength and support of her team
This is easily the best group of people I’ve worked with. When you’re working with people who are all moving in the same direction and working towards the same goal, that’s what makes a team truly great. If a team has the drive to do the job right, to take the time to focus on the one patient or person or account, then you’re going to get a great result. I mean, I could not be more different than some of my co-partners in terms of background or personality, but that diversity of thoughts, gifts, talents, and perspectives is what helps us do great work for our patients and the organization, and I know and trust that my co-partners are striving toward the goal of great work.
On what makes her position important
I think the best way to think about my role in Patient Financial Services (and all the other roles in the Revenue Cycle) is kind of like behind-the-scenes of a play. Think about a play or a performance: Everyone sees the actors on stage and understands the time and effort they put into their roles. But what people don’t see are the people who do the lighting, the props, the sets, and all the other things that make a play happen. Yes, a physician is the one who treats a patient, but if we don’t have the funding necessary for the physician, the equipment, the testing, or the facilities, then we simply can’t offer the great care we do to the community and our patients. So while we may be behind the scenes, we’re actually doing the ‘paper pushing’ work that allows patients to continue coming to us to seek care, and that’s a pretty important part of the organization.
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