Faces of Southcoast – Bernie Spooner

Bernadine “Bernie” Spooner has worked at Southcoast Health for almost 22 years. When she isn’t enjoying morning-break walks, she stays active as a Revenue Cycle Authorization Specialist. She cuts through red tape and seeks answers from insurance companies for patients needing everything from a CT scan to provider referrals.

“I handle service authorizations needing insurance company approval,” Bernie says. “This allows patients to receive necessary testing to help guide their physicians in the next step of their care.”

She also notifies and educates patients about benefits, eligibility, and potential out-of-pocket costs before receiving services to decrease the chances of any financial surprises afterward.

“When we get a quote of benefits and eligibility for our patients, they tend to think it’s an exact cost. In the ‘insurance world,’ there are no guarantees,” she says. “Everything is based on the guidelines set in place by their health plan. We’re here to inform our patients of the possibility of a potential out of pocket cost, but we’re only as good as what the insurance company quotes us.”

Bernie started out working in the Charlton Memorial off-campus satellite Hanover Lab in 1998. After five years, she transferred to the St. Luke’s Surgery Center Admitting Department, which is also where the Centralized Authorization Unit was created.

“I just grew within the department.”

Bernie is one of the many unsung Southcoast Health employees who help make a difference in patient experience.

“I treat every patient like they’re a family member or a close friend because it’s my job to do so,” she says. “I love the times when no matter how small the task, it’s helping someone get to their next level of care. We tend to forget that doing what we do does make a difference in some small way.”

One of the reasons Bernie has stayed with Southcoast Health for more than two decades is because she surrounds herself with top-notch employees.

“I love the people I work with,” she says. “I didn’t get to this point without the help and knowledge of those I work with on a daily basis. We all teach each other, and we all care about our patients and work very diligently to ensure they will get the care they need to get them on the road to better health.”