Department Spotlight: Patient Access

By: Alana Ridge

April 14, 2023

A collage of patient access representatives across many departments at Renown Health.

Health systems across the country recently celebrated Patient Access Week from April 2-8. Join us in recognizing our Patient Access team at Renown! 

Fighting the Good Fight starts the moment a patient steps onto the grounds of our health system. When patients visit Renown on their healthcare journey, they look to the experts to not only help them navigate through the complexities of the process but also ensure their experience with us starts off on the right foot. 

Renown Health’s Patient Access Representatives (also referred to as “PARs”) are the faces of this entire process. As the key links between patients, providers and insurers, they strive to create a welcoming and respectful environment for everyone. PARs are committed to providing all of Renown’s patients access to the quality care when needed. After all, it’s in their name! 

A Friendly Face 

PARs are the front faces of almost all clinical areas at Renown. As the starting point for much of the patient experience, the day-in-the-life of PARs can vary. Checking patients in and out, getting demographic information, verifying insurance, answering phone calls, fostering communication between patients and their care teams, scheduling patients for follow-ups, explaining financial responsibilities and our financial aid programs, creating an overall positive experience and environment, the list goes on – but they all remain united under one goal: setting patients off on the right foot as they access care through our health system. 

“Each day, PARs are met with new patients who are seeking solutions to different concerns,” said Macy Betts, PAR for Renown Women’s Health. “We are the front doors to this department. We are not just checking patients in and out; we are the first step to the patients receiving the care they deserve.” 

“We take pride in our work,” added Tanya Quintanilla, Shari Longley and Nancy Arroyo Garcia, PARs for Renown Pediatrics. “Usually, we are the first point of contact within Renown, so we don’t take our role lightly. For example, when we see a newborn, we must ensure the registration has been verified, which consists of patient demographics, patient preferences and insurance verification. We need to be consistent and thorough because what we do affects every point of contact a patient may have within Renown.” 

“As my team’s senior PAR, my day begins with gathering the outpatient therapy work queue numbers and assigning the team to work them,” added Logan Johnson, Senior PAR in Pre-Registration at Renown. “Our goal is to contact and schedule patients for physical, occupational and/or speech therapy as soon as possible so that they have the maximum benefit and can get back to a normal life as quickly as possible. Our encounters can make or break the entire experience.” 

PARs never underestimate the power of good communication and compassion. Even during the busiest of times, our PARs work diligently to ensure all patients and their care teams fully understand the administrative side of whichever part of their journey they are about to embark on, lending a helping hand and a smile. 

“Whether you’re communicating with patients, leaders or coworkers, communication is key,” said Jonathan Figueroa, PAR for the Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health (IHVH). “We try and make sure that we do everything possible to make their visit go as smoothly as possible.” 

“Communication makes the world go round,” added Keith Madrona, Sherry Riley, Erika Rios and Andie Kilpatrick, PARs at Renown Urgent Care – Ryland. “Having a friendly attitude and demeanor is very important. 

“The PARs in Labor & Delivery do so much more than just registering patients – from escorting expectant parents to their rooms, welcoming newborn babies, processing pre-estimates and more – and the patience and excellent communication I receive from other teams is what keeps me going,” added Nanci Barash-Vietti, PAR for Renown Labor & Delivery (L&D). “This is critical to the success and effectiveness of the PARs in our department.” 

Shift changes for PARs mimic other teams at Renown, leveraging technology and both written and spoken communication to ensure the next shift begins successfully. 

"When I come in, the night shift will give me a report on what is going on and what the schedule looks like during the day; then I log in to my computer and get everything that I will need for that day up on the screen,” said Allie Boracchia, PAR for Renown L&D. “Usually around this time we have a 7-8 a.m. induction scheduled for the first patient, so I will grab the pre-made packet that the night shift put together, the unit clerk will call the nurse to get a room number, and I take the patient to the room and have them sign all the forms. After the patient has the baby, then we admit them and finish registration. This is continuous all day long.” 

Our PARs all agree that regardless of the setting, whether it be emergent or routine, every patient is looking for that advocate from the moment they enter through our doors. 

“Being friendly, patient and understanding is a must,” said Sheryl Lundgren, PAR for the William N. Pennington Institute for Cancer. “It is so nice being able to brighten the days of patients who are living with a cancer diagnosis.” 

“In the urgent care setting, a lot of the patients we see are not feeling their best, so it is important that we show them we care and are here to help make check in go smoothly,” added Sam Deithrich, PAR at the Renown Urgent Care – Los Altos.  

“Patients are relieved that they are speaking to a real person that will help set up appointments,” added Rick Jordan and Celeste Landry, PARs in Lab Services at Renown South Meadows.  

PARs embrace lifelong learning at Renown, especially as their roles differ day-to-day. They are always ready to jump in and assist on tasks that might be new for them, growing their skills on the job and never hesitating to say, “How can I help?” 

“As a PAR, you are always learning new things, even when it seems like you know just about everything,” said Liz Cardenas-Ramos, PAR for Renown Endocrinology. “It’s been such a positive experience.” 

“Giving yourself grace to learn and grow in Patient Access is the key,” said Maggie Savoie, PAR for Renown Primary Care – Fernley. “I find myself learning every day at Renown, and if you’re learning, you’re growing. Being able to take a breath and say, ‘this is a learning opportunity for me, and tomorrow I will be better a better PAR because I’ve gained this knowledge’ is an amazing way to stay positive in the position.” 

“In L&D, we are all multi-tasking, and every day I am learning something new about my department and patients, as well as how to excel in my position,” added Nanci Barash-Vietti. 

Renown PARs are the front lines to health care access, and they wear that badge with pride. Jeanette Flores, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown South Meadows, sums up the role of Patient Access well: “Talk about first impressions!” 

“I am proud of our team and the excellent care we give our patients,” said Dawn Linker, PAR for the Renown IHVH. “We want them to have a good experience.” 

Impactful Accomplishments 

The role of our Patient Access team members goes beyond the desk. A patient’s healthcare journey begins, and sometimes even ends, with the helping hands of our PARs, leaving a lasting positive impression of Renown. 

"Our interactions with the patients make a difference before they see the provider, so we always demonstrate a welcoming and helpful atmosphere for the patients to feel like their needs are being met,” said Mary Dettling, PAR for Renown Endocrinology. 

“I love seeing the difference we make in peoples’ lives,” added Shannon Leone, PAR for the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. “We can get patients at their toughest and worst times. Watching them overcome their fears, traumas and addictions has been very rewarding.” 

Our PARs don’t just make goals for themselves – time and time again, they surpass them, all in the name of patient experience and excellence. 

“We have not only met our monthly point-of-sale scores, but we also have exceeded our stretch goal for the last eight months and our scores have been in the 50th percentile or higher,” said Jeanette Flores. 

“Along with being the top point-of-sale collectors, we have also been known to be some of the sweetest and most helpful staff at South Meadows,” said Katie Morrill, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown South Meadows. 

As their teams grow, so does their impact on our patients. PARs are dedicated to providing the best customer service possible, and with their expanding teams, that service goes even further, even throughout the pandemic. 

“A year ago, we only had one PAR; now, we have a full and amazing team,” said Alex Bucholz, PAR for Renown Advanced Wound Care. “We have come so far in a short amount of time.” 

"During the pandemic, we have maintained a core group of individuals who come in every day and help keep this office and all its parts moving smoothly,” added Shannon Leone. “We have maintained a full patient load the last three years and never had to close our office for any reason. We have even had the opportunity to start our Medicated Assisted Treatment and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation programs.” 

"We successfully operated and maintained our pediatric COVID clinic, which is the only one within our five clinics,” added Tanya Quintanilla, Shari Longley and Nancy Arroyo Garcia. “We feel proud knowing our tiny humans are protected with the COVID vaccine.” 

Like many other teams at Renown, our PARs are masters at teamwork. Despite any obstacles that may happen along the way, they are always there for each other to ensure every patient gets the care and attention they deserve. 

“We call ourselves the ‘A-Team’ here in Pulmonary,” said Shannon Birnberg, PAR for Renown Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine. “We have persevered through changes, additions and departures. We are most proud of bringing different personalities to the team and being super strong and effective.” 

“I have noticed the team always steps up whenever needed,” added Brittany Hughes, PAR for the Renown IHVH. “Everyone has a great attitude and is very positive!” 

“While our team is fairly new, we are growing together, learning our strengths and weaknesses and always pushing for stronger unity,” added Angel Freer, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown Regional. 

When our PARs find ways to simplify a process or make a workflow run more efficiently, they don’t waste any time in making that happen. They take any opportunity to enhance patient experience. 

“Our team came up with a solution on how to get patients registered faster,” said Jess Castillo-Marquez, PAR in Lab Services at Renown Regional. “We came up with modalities which assign each PAR their own procedure in which they will be registering for during their scheduled shift. It has been a great success, helping our productivity and keeping our patients satisfied with our service.” 

“We are proud of our successful implementation of our new therapy workflow,” added Logan Johnson. “Patients are now waiting much less to be contacted about their care.” 

Our PARs know that teamwork makes the dream work, and their commitment to the patients they serve – and the goals they continue to blow out of the water – continue to inspire them daily.  

“You are only as strong as your team,” said Aundie Yonker, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown Regional.  

Come Work With Us

Four Renown employees

Come Work With Us

Renown Health strives for excellence in all we do and want you to be a part of that. We offer careers in allied health, information technology, management, nursing and professional and support services.

The Renown Embrace 

Patient Access professionals can be found at any health system nationwide, and our PARs could have chosen any hospital or clinical practice to make their genuine difference. Out of the many opportunities out there, why choose Renown? 

For our PARs, that decision was easy. And for many of them, it was a calling to Fight the Good Fight. 

“Two years ago, my stepfather died due to complications from myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer characterized by buildup of scar tissue in the bone marrow,” said Sheryl Lundgren. “I spent his last eight weeks of life caring for him and my mother in their home. After that, I started looking for an admissions or intake type of position, and when I saw the opening in Medical Oncology, I took it as a sign. It was meant to be.” 

“I chose to work for Renown for the outstanding treatment I received when I was a patient here,” added Anne Anderson, PAR in Pre-Registration at Renown. “Now that I work here, it is my turn to share that very same caring and compassion that was given to me.” 

“When I got the opportunity to become a Renown employee, I was so excited,” added Denise Villa, PAR in Pre-Registration at Renown. “I couldn’t believe I was going to be a part of such a huge organization. I chose Renown because of the outstanding career opportunities I have here and for the opportunity to help patients with their needs. What keeps me here is the awesome group of people I work with. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My supervisor is great and always willing to work with me and my schedule. Renown CARES, and I love that!” 

Renown’s positive reputation in the community did not go unnoticed with our PARs. In fact, many of them cite that reputation as a deciding factor in choosing us as the next step in their career journey. 

“I heard great things about working for Renown,” added Sylvia Rodriguez, PAR for Renown Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine. “Renown even helped my husband with their home health aide program. Everyone is very professional.” 

“Both of my roommates – as well as my aunt – have worked for Renown and spoke highly of the organization,” added Sam Diethrich. “I wanted to be a part of a team that cares about their employees and takes pride in helping our community.” 

“Everyone I knew who worked at Renown Women’s Health already talked about the team dynamic being phenomenal and how everyone was a team player; I stay at Renown because the team I work with proved that statement tenfold,” added Macy Betts. “This is the first time I have worked in the medical field where doctors, MAs, nurses and the admin staff work together and even befriend each other.” 

Charged with the knowledge of Renown’s impact locally, many of our PARs were also drawn to the fact that Renown is devoted to its team members and encourages them to grow in their careers. 

“What keeps me here is not only the team that I have but also the new opportunities that Renown has to offer,” said Karen Nunez, PAR for Renown Primary Care – South Carson. “If I am ever uncertain or would like to expand my knowledge, Renown gives us opportunities to explore and shadow other areas. Renown makes me feel important as well as showing support for all of us to succeed. They put our care and feelings as the top priority.” 

“Renown is a great organization that provides a very valuable service to the public, and they have helped me jumpstart my healthcare career,” added Evelyn Estoliano, PAR in Lab Services at Renown Regional. “I’ve noticed that leadership has done a great job in making sure Renown’s values are being developed and implemented.” 

“I’m currently in nursing school and thought working in Patient Access at Renown would be a great start,” added Catherine Bogarin Garcia, PAR for Renown Endocrinology. “I love the opportunity to make a patient’s day go better.” 

Coming to Renown was a simple decision for our PARs; staying at Renown is even easier. Our PARs have grown and developed in a supportive and engaging environment that encourages them to work together for the greater good of every patient. This conviction can be attributed to their own teams – often noting that the team feels like a little family, lifting them up every step of the way. 

“When I started at Renown, it was a whole different ball game for me; now, I’ve made a second family here,” said Andie Kilpatrick, Patient Access Lead at Renown Urgent Care – Ryland. “I learned so much and continue to learn every day, and I am excited to see what other opportunities I will have within Renown. I am proud to tell family and friends where I work because it is a great organization and a great accomplishment of mine to be a part of.” 

“Working here at Renown has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever had,” added Andrea Ruiz, PAR for Renown Physiatry. “I have over 20 years of customer service experience, and through my years in working with the public, I have never felt the way I do here. I love my job and love coming to work every day. I feel that as a whole, Renown is a perfect fit for me. Everyone has made me feel welcome, from leadership and providers to office staff. I go home every day feeling like I accomplished something for our patients.” 

“I love that working for Renown, I am offered a flexible work/life balance and great benefits and discounts,” said Silvia Ruiz, PAR for Renown Primary Care – North Hills. “I genuinely enjoy my job and what I do!” 

Renown is also committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and many of our PARs feel that support firsthand. 

“I chose to work for Renown because of the care my kids and I received during both pregnancies and births, and as a woman of color, I truly felt advocated for by my doctors and nurses,” said Amanda Longsworth, PAR in Lab Services at Renown South Meadows. “Working for an organization that sees people as humans and not as numbers is very important to me.” 

“I love the interactions I get to have with people and the fact that I get to meet a large group of diverse people here,” added Stephanie Sanders, PAR in Pre-Registration at Renown. 

Does this all sound like an exciting, fulfilling adventure? The great news is – the Patient Access department is hiring across many different teams at Renown, including several of the teams featured here. And many of them plan on staying here long-term. 

“I love my job and have a lot of years invested here, so I plan on retiring with Renown,” said Vicky Wolfgang, PAR for the Renown IHVH. 

“The relationships I have made with my patients and team I see every day are the reasons I will continue to stay,” added Maddie Pauly, PAR for Renown Advanced Wound Care. 

If you still aren’t convinced, take these words of wisdom to heart: 

“You should, and will, feel valued as a PAR at Renown,” said Gillian Kitchell, PAR for Renown Urgent Care – Los Altos. “You set the tone for a patient’s visit. It’s an important role, and what you do for them is impactful. It feels good knowing you are a part of the reason that somebody got the care they needed because of YOU being the first person they interacted with.” 

“If you have the ability to be flexible, patient, helpful, and of course, wear a friendly smile, you will do well in Patient Access,” closes Sheryl Twiss, PAR for Renown Advanced Wound Care. 
    • Previous Article

    What's Special About Nursing at Renown Health

    At Renown Health, we live by a core set of values. We are caring and compassionate. We demonstrate respect and integrity. We build relationships and collaborate with patients, families, clinicians and communities. We strive for excellence...
    Read More
    • Next Article

    What Is an Echo-Tech?

    When it comes to our heart, keeping this vital source of life in tip-top shape is of utmost importance. Echo technologists or echocardiographers, otherwise known as "echo-techs," are charged with that mission, providing critical...
    Read More