UPHS – Bell Employee Spotlight: Jo Ann Wendt

What is your role with UP Health System – Bell?

I am the Health Information Management Director, and I am the Facility Privacy Officer.

How long have you been employed with us?

I’ve been with Bell for 10 months, and I’ve been with LifePoint for four years after having started in Marquette.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Every day is different. Some days I’m working on HIPPA, and some days I’m working on coding or compliance. Every day is an adventure. It’s a lot of multitasking; you have to be organized. I keep different calendars, different emails, and you’re always somewhere in the process and I always make sure I double-check at the end of the week that everything is done.

The biggest challenge is the compliance and ethics aspect. There are a lot of regulations and a lot of state reporting. I report to a lot of state agencies.

Jo Ann Wendt with two of the snakes she caught during a hunt.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I have a little bit of an adventure streak. I’ve been rattlesnake hunting in Arkansas. August is the best month to catch them. You look in creek beds and they like to lay out in the sun. They can be a nuisance on the properties, so that’s why we do it. You have to be careful. you want to make sure you have the right boots, the right clothing in case something happens. We always hunt them on four-wheelers, and I’m always the one who has to get off the four-wheeler and get them.

If you could do any other job in the world for a day, what would it be?

I would want to be a pilot. Just to be able to do it. The fact they get to see the country from a different view and see the whole world from a whole different angle.

What is something that might surprise others?

I saved a drowning child when I was 13; that’s why I got into health care. It was a neat experience that you don’t forget.

There were two toddlers playing on the edge of a deck. One pushed the other in and no one saw it. I could hear the yelling from the shore, so I jumped in and caught him. It was an instinct. I dove in after him and avoided him from getting sucked away. I was never so scared in my life.

The family sent me a card every year for a while to keep me updated about how things were going and to give thanks. That whole experience motivated me to get into health care.

What is your favorite part about working at UPHS?

My co-workers and my team. I feel supported. Every day I come in with the team I work with and I love the challenges. You never know what is happening that day. People don’t always think of medical records as customer service, but we help them with releases and the concerns they have with confidentiality.

The record tells the patient’s story after they’re discharged. I really like being responsible for that and helping paint the picture of the patient’s care after they have left.

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