For this Consultant Spotlight, we sat down with a member of SimiTree’s Coding and OASIS QA Specialist team. Pam Wandrie, M.A.CCC-SLP, HCS-D, HCS-O, is passionate about ensuring auditors provide top-quality coding, OASIS, and plan of care reviews that meet or exceed industry standards. With more than 30 years of experience in the home health industry, Pam was kind enough to share her valuable clinical experience, and even some priceless insights into her career journey (including advice for those considering a career in this field), and perhaps the most exciting of all -- her hobbies outside of work. Read on to learn more about Pam and her valuable contributions to the SimiTree team.
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Pam, tell us about your role, and how your role contributes to our solutions.
I’m on the coding and OASIS QA Specialist team. We ensure our auditors are providing coding, OASIS, and plan of care review that meets or exceeds quality standards. We want to make sure SimiTree continues to deliver the best possible service to our clients, and that our coding and reviews are following the latest guidance and standards.
We give feedback to our auditors to keep them up to date and assist with the interpretation of guidance and help identify trends and needs for auditor education. I think our team adds great value to SimiTree’s coding and OASIS services!
How would you describe your company culture? What do you think makes our team culture unique?
We have a very special team here at SimiTree! We have a lot of talent here, and we’ve grown quite a bit in the past few years, but the culture feels like a family. We support one another, we work together to solve problems, and there’s a feeling that everyone’s role and opinion matters. It’s a great feeling to work in such a positive environment.
What inspired you to pursue a career in your field, and how did you get started in this industry?
Like many others in the healthcare professions, I was inspired to pursue a career in speech-language pathology by life circumstances. I had a non-verbal cognitively impaired brother that significantly shaped my life. I’ve been in the home health industry since 1992 when I took on a visiting SLP position as an extra source of income. I immediately developed a passion for providing therapy in patient’s homes.
Over the years I have worked in acute care, post-acute rehab, outpatient, and even a school setting, but my passion was home health, and I eventually chose to make home health my full-time job. There’s something special about being able to help people in their own environments, working through real-life problems and situations as they arise. I’ve been involved in home health coding and OASIS quality assurance and education since 2016, and I absolutely love what I do.
Can you share some of your most memorable clinical experiences, and how they have shaped your approach to solving problems in the home health and hospice field?
Without identifying one specific experience, I will say it was very eye-opening for me to witness what some of our older population deals with; the sick, and elderly taking care of the sick and elderly is such a widespread problem, and a heartbreaking one. I definitely developed a special bond with my patients and a deep sense of empathy and responsibility to do all I could to help people in difficult situations.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in your field, but isn't sure where to start?
First, I think you must be willing to learn something new every day; be open to change, and be ready to adapt, because just when we feel we’ve mastered something, suddenly we’re doing it all wrong. I also suggest going into this field with the understanding that passing your certification exams is just the tip of the iceberg in mastering your skill set. Learning to effectively navigate different EMRs and read over pages and pages of provider and clinician notes and learning to apply your knowledge in actual patient records is a key step in developing your skill set. I would also try to look for opportunities to shadow someone in the field or connect with a mentor. Actively seeking out these opportunities I think would also help make someone newly certified more employable.
What are some of the most important qualities for success in your field, and how can individuals develop these traits?
Be open to feedback, seek out collaboration, and be willing to adapt and change with the ever-changing rules and guidance. Develop a network of support, because it truly does take a village to be successful in this field.
What do you love to do outside of work?
First and foremost, I love to spend time with my family. We try to get together for a family meal a couple of times each month to catch up, hang out, and relax. In my free time, my life partner, Dave, and I are into the crazy sport of trail and ultrarunning. At any given time, we’re training for an event that will push our physical and mental limits.
Right now, we’re training for a 120-mile staged race across the Rocky Mountains over the course of 6 days that’s taking place in August. We also enjoy backpacking, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, visiting National Parks…I could go on, but you get the idea! For myself, I recently started baking with sourdough, and I’m hooked on that. I also enjoy cooking and experimenting with new plant-based recipes.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the people here at SimiTree and thank you to Pam for allowing us to share your interview with the world! At SimiTree, we are proud to partner with an exceptional group of professionals like Pam, who have a passion for helping people and have used the clinical and real-life experience to shape their approach to problem-solving in the home health and hospice field.
Want to learn more about SimiTree's Coding and OASIS solutions?
If your home health or hospice agency needs help navigating OASIS-E, our auditors provide industry-leading coding and OASIS, and plan of care review services rooted in competency, compliance, and commitment. We want you to know what makes our Review Dashboard special, and we hope you hear from our experts how to navigate the top 3 struggles with OASIS-E. To access free resources and learning materials on this topic, visit our webinars page to explore on-demand expert insights.
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