40 Under Forty: Melanie Sands-Snyder, patient access trainer, Sisters of Leavenworth Health System

2014-02-02T00:15:00Z 2014-02-10T16:41:10Z 40 Under Forty: Melanie Sands-Snyder, patient access trainer, Sisters of Leavenworth Health System The Billings Gazette
February 02, 2014 12:15 am

The health care industry is in the middle of some significant change, and Melanie Sands-Snyder, a patient access trainer for Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, meets with employees to make sure they’re satisfied and productive in their jobs.

“We see there’s a great need for employee education to reduce turnover, to create an employee who is proud of their job and putting all of their effort into helping the patient, and to be educated in our computer systems and our mission as a whole,” Snyder said.

She worked as a collection specialist in her first job in health care.

“But from there I saw that we were at the end of the patient relationship and I wanted to move up and see the whole aspect,” she said.

Snyder’s job requires her to travel out of town occasionally, and that means she must be organized so her seven children can get to school and other activities such as sporting events.

“If it wasn’t for Skype and other communication technology, it would be tough. I wouldn’t be able to focus on my work. And when I’m with my children, they’re my focus,” she said.

Snyder studied interior design in college and enjoys putting those skills to work at home.

“I love having a big family. I’m one of those people who has to have something to do all the time,” she said.

What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? The ever-changing economy and how it affects health care as a whole, outsourcing, new computer systems and various challenges.

What did you learn from that challenge? Stay patient, keep educated and informed of the ever-present happenings in health care. Be open to change and adaptable. This will keep you ahead of the game.

What’s the best business advice you have received? Learn your business from your customers/patients. Understand their minds, their hearts and their lives. Do what you do to make their lives easier. When a problem comes, leave them a place to stand and stand tall beside them.

Who gave you that advice? My grandfather.

Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I would like to start programs that give cellphones to domestic-abuse survivors. Establish a Kids in Court program here in Billings, helping older children stay away from crime and oversee and mentor younger teens that are at-risk youth. I’d like to see reading programs for all by establishing reading centers in shelters and mental health facilities.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? The ability to go home at the end of the night and know that I have done everything possible to help a patient, and that from beginning to end, the visit to the hospital has been a smooth transition.

Which living person do you most admire? My grandfather. He taught me that life will fill me with challenges and that I can either hide from them or tackle them head on. I owe my stubborn, never-give-up nature to him.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I have never given up, despite having all odds against me. I am a survivor, from a very hard childhood growing up in Las Vegas, Nev. Whatever life has thrown at me, from incurring a traumatic brain injury from a serious accident in 2009, to having a stroke this year, I refuse to let that define me. I am a graduate from the Headway program, learning to simple tasks such as walking, talking and cooking (thank heaven that my husband does that). Now I’m enjoying hobbies that I wasn’t able to do right away after my accident. I am proof that life can throw you some real lemons, and you can make some great lemonade of it.

I’m happiest when I’m… fishing, camping, being outdoors and enjoying what Montana has to offer.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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