MLHS employee education helps patients
by Mary Rains
Darline Rogne has a job that requires two important skills: caring, and careful attention to the bottom line. She is the financial counselor that you may see if you have a medical visit to Mille Lacs Health System.
Rogne has just completed a Certified Medical Collector’s course through the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance. “I took the course to help me be a really effective financial counselor for our health system,” Rogne said. “I have to be compassionate to all the patients and understand that these are rough times for many people. On the other hand, my job is also to protect the interests of the facility I work in. So it requires balance.”
Rogne learned rules, regulations, and laws regarding collections. She will have to renew her certificate each year. “There are a lot of programs available for helping people who have financial difficulties with health care costs, so it’s my job to really work hard to help patients understand what’s out there for them.”
Besides county and state programs patients can apply to, Rogne says MLHS has payment plans available, and a financial assistance program. “Trust is important. Patients should trust that I have as much knowledge as possible, and trust that I will be professional and courteous,” said Rogne.
“One of our goals at MLHS is to work with patients to help them pay their bill,” Patient Accounts Manager Dawn Buck added. “No one should go without care because of financial limitations. Of course, our facility’s ability to stay financially healthy is important to us as well, so our ultimate goal is to get claims processed as quickly as possible. That helps both patients and our department.”
To that end, another employee of Patient Accounts completed a program and received certification relating to patient accounting. Sonya Bandow took a course from the National American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. “Medical billing requirements change often and having taken this keeps me in sync with all the changes and updates,” Bandow says. “Processing patient accounts is complex and in order to serve our patients in the best way, it’s important to keep pace with what’s happening in the industry.” Bandow got her certificate as a Patient Account Technician and as a Certified Clinic Account Technician.
Mille Lacs Health System encourages its employees to pursue professional development by having a tuition reimbursement program available for qualified individuals. CEO Bill Nelson says, “We’re committed to supporting our employees’ advancement of their skills in ways that are unique to their health care field interests, goals and future plans.”
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