UPHS — Marquette Heroes | Mary Howko

Mary Hawko is a Senior Accountant in the Accounting Department at UP Health System – Marquette.

What is your role at UP Health System – Marquette?
I am a Senior Accountant in the Accounting Department at UP Health System – Marquette.

What was your inspiration for getting into healthcare?
Getting into the field of healthcare was accidental. My parents both worked at Marquette General for many years (my mom was an RN and my dad was in imaging/education), so I was familiar with the healthcare industry. I had first obtained a part-time job at the hospital while I attended NMU. I hadn’t considered working at the hospital beyond graduation, as I did not have a desire to study a medical-related field, but then I learned that hospitals offer many other types of positions, such as accountants, to operate successfully.

What’s a typical day like for you? What is it like working in this field?
Accountants at a hospital prepare, maintain, and interpret the financial data to determine the hospital’s operating results and the financial position. There’s not really a typical day in the accounting dept at UPHS – Marquette. The first part of the month is devoted mostly to the various tasks needed to close the financial books for the previous month – this includes patient charges, operating expenses, statistics, and FTEs – in addition to other daily or weekly tasks. Over the years, I have worked with many aspects of the hospital’s financial data, including assisting with the preparation of the hospital’s annual budgets.

My current focus is mostly on the hospital’s salary & benefit expenses as well as departmental volumes & employee hours. I work with hospital management throughout the month to analyze and/or report on variances related to this data using the productivity system or departmental month-end reports.

How long have you been employed here? Have you always been in the same position?
I have been employed here for nearly 33 years. During the first 10 years, I worked in various departments – Volunteers, Medical Records/Health Information Management, Physician Billing – and I’ve been in the Accounting Department for 23 years.

What are some of the big changes you have experienced in this position?
The expectations and role of the department have changed depending on the need and current priorities of the facility and executive leadership team. We have shifted away from simply being the “keepers of data” to gaining a more hands-on impact. We are leading performance improvement projects and education, along with taking on other tasks that don’t necessarily fit in any other department. 

What are some of your interests outside of work? What is your favorite local gem?
I enjoy gardening, computer gaming, and sci-fi/fantasy reading. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, Ed, and our 2 cats and 2 dogs. I love Presque Isle as well as the miles of bike paths along the lake (both in the Marquette & Harvey areas). 

What do you enjoy most about working at UPHS – Marquette?
My coworkers – both within my department and throughout the hospital.

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