Week 7: The More You Know

Gianna F -

Hello everyone! I am not sure how I feel about having only three weeks left! I have accepted that my podcast will continue after our senior project deadline simply because I have to wait until April 15th before I even begin to fathom interviewing a CPA. 


This week I started interviewing medical administrators. I interviewed Malinda from AZ Oncology and Donna from AZ Neurosurgery & Spine. They both had completely different stories, but both emphasized how important it is to keep learning and learn as much as you can. 

  • Malinda started as an MA and was hoping to become a trauma nurse, but they pulled her aside and asked if she would help out with administration. She agreed and began to enjoy it. She has been working in her position for about 20 years now and has learned a lot over that time. Her motto follows “Learn how to do everyone else’s jobs so that you can be the best at yours.” As the Director of Operations, people from all different sectors go to her to get their “how to” questions answered, and she usually has an answer for them. On the topic of finance though, she has to be on top of managing “charges.” This is where she collects all the information regarding patients’ procedures/surgeries to protect them from patient appeals, which are done once patients receive their bills and disagree with the charge. She also went into depth about their partnership with McKesson. Mckesson’s main role is the distribution of medical supplies, but US Oncology was able to get them as their administrative partner. This allows the physicians, who act as shareholders, to own the practice without owning the building. Mckesson handles most of the administration aspects along with financial bookkeeping and taxes. They also receive any tax credits that come along with owning the building, which I thought was interesting. 
  • Donna has been the Office Administrator for 3 years now. The clinic has grown a lot from when they first started with one physician, Dr. Spitalieri, who is a neurosurgeon. Before, she was a practicing OB/GYN nurse, so this specialty was also a change for her. Her skill base was 100% self-taught, and she is still learning today. She does do her taxes because the clinic is a pass-through for her personal taxes. Just like most business owners, Donna was not putting stress on financial issues when she helped start the practice, however, it has become a key component. She does her billing, and I help deal with insurance companies. I can tell you it is not easy, and I have had some guidance. Another interesting topic was the contracts developed with insurance companies. As a clinic becomes more established they have the ground to negotiate better contracts with the insurance companies, but to do this you need someone specialized. Donna said that she could not negotiate herself and until she finds a specialist, she is stuck with the contracts she has. However, the insurance companies favor developing new contracts, so they charge the clinic higher percentages until they update the contract, so Donna will eventually be forced into this task. 


Overall, I enjoyed learning so much this week. I am getting excited to pursue this as a career, and hopefully, with the knowledge I receive in college, I will have a better foundation to be more successful in these positions. Next week, I hope to interview two or three more medical administrators. 


Also, I went camping this week along the superstition mountains, and the group that I went with has all dipped their toes in the administration world, so I hope to have a decent lineup when I begin to interview general businesses! 

Picture of the Superstition mountains 👍

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    Taylor Phelan
    Hi, Gianna, I think it’s really cool that you are able to interview medical administrators! On the topic of insurance companies, do you think it is a better business strategy to contract with companies or to not contract with them (like out-of-network offices)?
    Hey Gianna! It’s so interesting that both of the administrators you interviewed didn’t originally plan on a career in medical administration. Do you think that a service like what McKesson provides is helpful for all medical facilities, or for smaller facilities is it easier and better financially to handle taxes in-house?
    Hi Taylor! Most of the places I work with are out-of-network just because they are speciality, and these places really value having good contracts with as many insurance companies as possible to bring in the most customers as possible (with minute payment issues).
    Hi Maddie! McKesson does not offer administrative partnerships to most clinics. US Oncology is well established and McKesson took a leap by becoming their administrative partner. For most clinics, McKesson just provides medical supplies. Additionally, I believe most private clinics will combine their personal taxes with their businesses as a PTE (pass through entity), so it is better for them to do it in-house.
    I am loving listening to your podcast, Gianna! I am also seeing how a lot of business owners are emphasizing constantly learning and growing as they go through their business, so I think it is interesting how you are seeing the same thing!

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