Schaeffer is employee of the month
Caring, giving, friendly, always has a smile, goes above and beyond and first one to volunteer are some of the words and phrases on the forms nominating Collette Schaeffer as the May Employee of the Month at St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics.
Schaeffer works in the business office doing data entry, sorting incoming and outgoing mail and registering patients for their outpatient treatments and procedures. After a patient is seen by a health care provider he or she dictates the results of the visit. The dictation then is transcribed by the transcription department. Prior to being placed in the patient’s chart the transcribed notes from the visit or inpatient stay go to the coding department where certified coders assign a standardized number to each diagnosis, procedure or treatment. Schaeffer then inputs those codes so the billing department can bill the proper insurance company, Medicare, Medicaid or the patient directly.
“It’s a multi step process involving a lot of people. I enjoy what I do because I get to work with a lot of departments and different people,” said Schaeffer. “I also really like working with patients and making them smile. Often when people come in to register they’re a bit nervous about going to the lab or X-ray or for a procedure so my goal is to help them laugh a bit and relax a little.”
Originally hired in October, 2002 as a file clerk, she now wears a variety of hats, including various volunteer responsibilities. As a member of the hospital’s Mission Committee, each December she and her family help with the hospital’s Angel Tree. “It’s become a family project,” said Schaeffer. “I round up my son’s high school friends to load the gift bags and food boxes. For the past two years my husband has also helped because we feel it’s a good way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.” She also helps with The Neighbors house that accommodates visitors and patients who use SMHC but live out of the area.
In the summer she is involved in the local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life held in Grangeville. She and some of her co-workers organize internal fundraisers and, prior to the weekend event, they help prepare the Grangeville High School track to accommodate hundreds of cancer survivors and supporters. “My family has been impacted by cancer. Most people certainly know someone who has experienced cancer so it seems like the right thing to do,” said Schaeffer.
Her community volunteerism also includes serving as a 4H leader and working on the Prairie High School prom. She is a 1988 graduate of PHS. Although she is not a lifelong resident of the area she feels truly at home in Idaho. Her family moved to Cottonwood when Schaeffer was in fifth grade.
She and her husband, Lonnie, live outside of Ferdinand where they raised their two children, Casandra, who will graduate this May from Lewis Clark State College with a two year degree in business management. Two weeks later her son, Dustin, will graduate from PHS. He plans on attending LCSC to study diesel mechanics.
When not working or volunteering Schaeffer enjoys four wheeling with her family and spending weekends in Dixie, Idaho.