A Day in the Life of a Medicare Provider Outreach & Education Manager

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Not a day passes that I don't think about the tremendous career diversity that nursing has afforded me—from direct patient care to strictly administrative roles, and positions that amalgamate aspects of both. Sometimes we seek opportunities that are ideally suited for our proficiencies, lifestyle, and career objectives. Other times, a position that was not previously considered seeks us out, resonates with our nursing passion, and inspires us to ponder a trajectory not before contemplated. For me, this epiphany was Medicare Provider Outreach & Education (POE). Before becoming a POE manager, I began working for Medicare as a provider education consultant with one of several Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). This period of transition from direct patient care to the administrative capacity of education and outreach was nothing short of a personal renaissance. What my colleagues interpreted as excitement about my new role was actually confirmation that my professional journey was indeed aligned with the fiber of my being. My new position focused on the very ideologies that led me to pursue a nursing career: sharing knowledge and educating others, connecting with a purpose to serve the greater good, evidence-based practice, all while building longstanding community partnerships.
As a Senior Provider Education Consultant—a crucial bridge between Medicare and healthcare providers—I was an interpreter of Medicare guidelines as well as the billing and documentation expectations of the MAC. After approximately 2 years working in this capacity, providing one-on-one guidance, developing educational materials, and fostering a sound understanding of the foundational tenets of Medicare policy, an opportunity to work from home as a Medicare educator was offered. After much deliberation, I was sufficiently persuaded to accept the offer.
I no sooner became fully acclimated to this new role, when my manager called an impromptu conference to announce she was resigning in 2 weeks. I hadn't been with this new team 4 months, and the one person who lobbied on my behalf seemed to be abandoning me before I could benefit from her experience and sage tutelage! Suddenly, I didn't feel very secure or acclimated anymore. However, one day she called and said, “Monique, you are very well qualified and I think you would be suited for my role - I hope you'll at least consider applying for the job once it is posted.” I politely thanked her for the kind words and the vote of confidence but I convinced myself that I wasn't interested in the added responsibility. Eventually though, I tossed my hat into the ring and was offered an interview for the job. I flew to our home office in Nashville, TN, and survived a day of intense vetting. I flew home that same evening, with no true gauge of the outcome. Months passed before I received a call from the person I had interviewed with in Nashville, and who I would directly report to. “Monique, we have made a decision regarding the POE Manager role, and I am calling to let you know that you were selected.” The wait was over and I savored the success, not yet thinking of the trials awaiting me on the other side of triumph. The promotion from educator to manager meant shifting from peer to leader of the education team, no small feat in any setting; but certainly more challenging for a newcomer with a lot of “innovative” ideas to pitch, and buy-in to obtain from the disadvantaged location of my home office.
My workday usually begins with a mental scan of everything on my proverbial to-do list.
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