Patient Access: A Career That Makes A First Impression

Holland Hospital Patient Access

When you think of a career in health care, you most likely think of doctors and nurses. But there is a department at the center of each hospital that plays an important role in delivering a great patient experience. From scheduling to insurance verification to announcing overhead pages, Holland Hospital cannot operate smoothly without Patient Access.

“Patient Access is often the first point of contact for any patient coming into the hospital,” says Erin Locker, supervising coordinator.

Patient Access has several different teams. Pre-arrival specialists coordinate scheduling, insurance verification and pre-registration for scheduled procedures.

Another team is who greets you when you arrive at the hospital, emergency department or urgent care facility to get you registered and checked in.

“We are often the first impression of a patient’s Holland Hospital experience, and we want to make sure it starts right.” explains Jackie Vanis, supervising coordinator.

A third team serves as the operators in the hospital by answering phones, routing calls to the appropriate departments and announcing overhead pages for the hospital.

New hires to the Patient Access team go through six-to-eight weeks of paid training, with a preceptor carefully observing, and then practicing each aspect of their role. “We spend a lot of time with our new team members to set them up for success,” says Locker.

Once patient access specialists have been with the hospital for a year, they are eligible to enroll in a nationally recognized certification program that allows them to become certified as either a patient access specialist or a pre-arrival specialist for additional responsibilities and a pay increase. The hospital also offers tuition reimbursement for anyone looking to advance their education. “It’s a way for us to invest in our team members and facilitate career growth,” says Locker.

Patient Access can be a great way to start a career in health care and explore other paths. “If a patient access specialist is also in a nursing or radiology program, we allow them to shadow the leaders of those departments,” says Vanis. “That makes us pretty unique.”

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