Ginnea Smith, Technically the Billing Manager
Titles Don’t Matter to Ginnea as Much as Helping Patients
There may have been a few detours on Ginnea Smith’s journey from a small town in Oklahoma to the bright lights of Las Vegas, but the timing was just right when she arrived here and she happened upon an ad for an Office Assistant position. In May 2007, she began working at Crovetti Orthopaedics and from that moment, has never looked back.
“I was fortunate to gain experience in several departments during my first year, which gave me an excellent perspective of a patient’s entire journey at Crovetti Ortho – from the time they make their first appointment through their follow-up care after treatment or surgery,” explains Smith. “When I moved to the Billing Department in August 2008, I took that experience with me into what can often be a department that causes stress or concern for patients. But I saw no reason patients shouldn’t receive the same high level of care from Billing that they received from everyone else at our offices – from appointment schedulers to x-ray techs, and medical assistants to nurses.”
That’s the first hint that as Billing Manager at Crovetti Ortho, this is far more than “just a job” to Ginnea Smith. She has a real passion to be as great at her duties as she is at reassuring patients and putting their minds at ease. That’s what makes her an exception in a role that can be – at best impersonal, and at worst, intimidating, to patients, and is frequently performed by clerks uninterested in the patient’s personal circumstances.
For Ginnea, her first order of business was realizing that the success of the practice – and its ability to well serve every patient – relies on fighting for the insurance payments Dr. Crovetti deserves for the important work he does. Handling his money as skillfully as if it were her own, she makes sure she never lets the insurance companies wear her down (as anyone who has dealt with them knows can happen). And that’s a trait that multiplies in importance when you learn that the money that comes in is all reinvested to keep improving what Crovetti Ortho can offer and do for their patients. As Ginnea confirms the statements of the entire staff, “It really is all about the patients here.”
But it is her communication with patients that is unlike any that most medical patients have experienced anywhere else. For Ginnea, it comes from a place of deep understanding and belief that Crovetti Ortho patients should concentrate on their recovery and getting their lives back first – and she is there to help them solve the rest.
“Working in Billing teaches you a lot about patience and compassion,” continues Smith. “Over time I’ve come to realize that when a patient contacts me about their bill, I don’t know what’s happened during the rest of their day that led to their conversation with me. But I do know what they’ve been going through physically. They’ve been in pain for a long time, they’re trying to recover now, often they’re on leave from work with no money coming in, and it’s all very overwhelming.
“I also know people are sensitive about their financial situations – and I understand completely. That’s why I try to keep an open line of communication. I work with people in good faith, to give them breathing room, remove the financial stress that can affect their recovery, and let them know that I’m always here to help so they’re never afraid to call me or feel a need to avoid me.
“The truth is, I have a chance to truly help people in pain, whose quality of life has suffered because of it in many ways,” explains Smith. “Once you realize that, it’s such an opportunity to turn things around for them. Often, they’re angry or confused when they call because they don’t understand the complexities of their benefits or deductibles (which is no easy feat for anyone). I help them grasp it, let them know how I can assist them, and they feel better by the time they get off the phone.
“It means a lot to me that I can be a person who is both able and willing to help. I want people to have a good interaction with me, and to be part of making the entire Crovetti experience – right down to the last minute – one that they will appreciate and remember as positive.”
That same type of passion – to do the best and right thing for every patient – is endemic through the entire Crovetti Ortho team, and it’s not something that happened by chance. It’s because Dr. Crovetti has been uncommonly proactive in developing a staff that believes as strongly as he does that everything they do begins and ends with providing superb care and creating an exceptional experience for each and every patient.
“The enthusiasm for everything he does is infectious,” states Ginnea. “His first intention is to care for the patient, give them back their lives, let them resume the activities they’ve always loved. His concern is real. It’s not lip-service – he is exactly what you see. And to make that happen, he surrounds himself with an “A Squad.” He only works with the best – and he goes out of his way to help his people become the best.
“He has high standards, and he expects people to work to their potential. But he does it by always encouraging learning, keeping an open door for communication, and making sure that people also have a meaningful life outside of work – not that they devote all their hours to their job.
“It was that attitude that – in addition to making me better at my job every day – also allowed me to earn two Bachelors of Arts degrees. He provided me such stability and security that I was able to pursue the things I loved in my own life.
“I began a new job at 25, fresh into town, with no real office experience,” Smith recalls. “But he saw something in me that even I wasn’t aware of at the time. He gave me opportunities, he challenged me to grow and become better, and now, nearly 12 years later, I can’t imagine what my life would look like without his influence. He and Karen are the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. To be honest, he’s ruined me for all other bosses,” laughs Ginnea. “Not that it seems to matter, because I don’t plan on leaving.”