About | Tara Velez
Tara Velez is the practice manager for three of Dr. Ahmed H. Sadek organizations: Orlando Epilepsy Center, Orlando Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, and Epilepsy Monitoring Centers of Americas.
She has worked with Dr. Sadek for 6 years; managing patient (and staff) expectations, implementing preventive measures, and overseeing billing and coding.
Date: September, 2020
What made you choose the healthcare industry?
At a young age I had a passion for caring for others, I thought I would become a nurse. Life doesn’t always go as expected, I didn’t become a nurse but I do work in the healthcare industry. With all the clinical knowledge I have obtained with Dr. Sadek (my mentor), and all the things I ‘care’ for on a daily basis, I feel like a nurse. I get to interact with a variety of people who enter the medical office daily – physicians, nurses, technicians, patients, patients’ families, pharmaceutical representatives, salespeople, vendors and staff. Here I am, at my dream job.
How did your role transition at OEC?
I started with Dr. Sadek as a Contract and Credentialing Specialists at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU). My role was to ensure the medical staff members’ maintained current credentials and licenses to work legally in their field or specialty and advise them of the required steps to maintain their credentials, and assist with contracting health insurance providers. I took on more responsibilities – AHCA and AAAHC accreditation. With my degree in billing and coding, I became curious on how this was handled internally; eventually I managed this department as well. As the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit grew, Dr. Sadek saw that we had the opportunity to provide exceptional care for more patients, and he entrusted me to grow an effective team to support and realize his vision. It may sound like a ‘cliché’, but I feel truly blessed to have a mentor like Dr. Sadek that trusts me.
Working in a medical practice, you obviously manage different employees’ staff from Specialists to Receptionists, all with different backgrounds, training, and personalities. How do you navigate through this?
The culture of our practice is key. Additionally, there will always be some unexpected outcome, so I need to make sure that the teams are properly trained and have the proper tools needed to manage patient needs and expectations. There is a sense of purpose knowing my team and I are contributing to the wellness and care of our patients.
What is your responsibility when it comes to insuring a positive patient experience?
Looking at the big picture of the practice and all its’ moving parts, and the impact on patient care. Our team takes pride in delivering a positive patient experience from the first greeting to follow up visits. The most important responsibility is to ensure our patients leave knowing they got the best care. Period.
What was your initial plan of action to the COVID-19 pandemic? How did it change the team?
First, reaction “don’t panic”! Literally. Immediately our focus geared into a continuity plan structure around providing patient care with minimal interruption to our patients. I had to determine staff needed in different areas (and staff needs), process, and marketing internal/external communication. Our team knew there would be challenges, but they were all hands on deck and most of them working remote, while our specialist got into full gear with Telehealth. We made it work – that was the only option.