Outstanding account assistant doesn’t give up easily

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alt textDanielle Raccio is Yale Medical Group’s second Outstanding Employee. 
Danielle Raccio is Yale Medical Group’s second Outstanding Employee.

You may know a doctor who changed a patient’s life, but what about an account assistant? Danielle Raccio, account assistant in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services, was working with a patient whose insurance company had agreed to cover her procedure. Then, after the patient was treated, the company changed their policy, leaving her thousands of dollars in debt.

“She was going to pay it and we were going to put her on a budget plan, but I didn’t think it was fair,” said Raccio. So she got on the phone and began a campaign in collaboration with Christine Hoyt, a clinical specialist in patient financial services. The negotiations continued for months until the company finally reversed its decision.

“It was a battle,” Raccio said. “But my parents always raised me to do the job, do it right and have respect for everyone.”

Raccio is Yale Medical Group’s latest Outstanding Employee. She joined the practice full-time four years ago after attending Gateway Community College, and working summer internships in community medical offices. She is currently pursuing a degree in business management at Gateway and hopes to complete it at Southern Connecticut State University. Her mother, Deborah Raccio, is a senior administrative assistant in pediatric surgery.

Important piece of the puzzle

alt textRaccio, left, considers fellow account assistant Betsy Baird a mentor. 
Raccio, left, considers fellow account assistant Betsy Baird a mentor.

“I love my job,” said Raccio, who manages billing, coding and review, and some surgical booking for urogynecology, and recently took over similar responsibilities for Yale Family Planning. “Medical billing is a very important piece of the puzzle. Once I got into it, I realized I was good at it and I really like it.”

She is grateful to Betsy Baird, an account associate in the department for 15 years who has been a mentor, helping Raccio work with changing insurance guidelines, operative notes and procedures. “She has taught me a lot about insurance, which people don’t always understand. That’s especially true in urogynecology. We do a lot of therapies, and it’s not always a black-and-white field.”

Another important skill is the ability to talk to patients who don’t understand their bills, and may be confused and upset. When Deanna Martin, a former coworker who is now a research associate in the geriatrics, nominated Raccio for Outstanding Employee, she wrote: “She possesses a unique talent to comfort those who are anxious.”

Raccio said, “You have to think about the patient. My grandparents don’t understand explanations of benefits. I have patients either mail their explanation to me or fax it, and then I go through every line with them. I tell them it may say $500, but that doesn’t mean their doctor is getting paid $500 for it.” In some cases, Raccio has visited Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven to talk to patients face to face. “I take time out of my day to help them understand, and patients respect that,” she said.

alt textRaccio and coworkers in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services (l-r): Jessica Santore and Cristina Durrell, urogynecology senior administrators; Millie Jimenez, gynecologic oncology office assistant; Carolyn Stapleton, gynecologic oncology senior administrator; Raccio and Betsy Baird, account assistants; and Renee Luongo, manager. 
Raccio and coworkers in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services (l-r): Jessica Santore and Cristina Durrell, urogynecology senior administrators; Millie Jimenez, gynecologic oncology office assistant; Carolyn Stapleton, gynecologic oncology senior administrator; Raccio and Betsy Baird, account assistants; and Renee Luongo, manager.

Renee Luongo, practice manager for the sections of gynecologic oncology, urogynecology and Yale Family Planning, congratulated Raccio, and said both Beard and Raccio have made outstanding contributions in her sections.

“Betsy has been with our department for over 15 years—she replaced me when I moved up to manage. She is the best at everything, she makes it so she knows and learns everything. She thinks for me and just does it, nothing is left undone. Working with both Betsy and Danielle, we are thinking globally for our three sections for billing, collection and operation. It is an honor and pleasure working and being family with both Danielle and Betsy.”