Team Profile: Deb Gilbody, Boston Billing

Deb Gilbody and Sue Sullivan

Deb Gilbody and Sue Sullivan

How did you end up working with Brewster?

DG: I worked in home care for 25 years in administration as a mid-level manager for a home care company. I was also a systems corporate trainer for 10 years and traveled throughout the country. I thought we were growing at that company, but little did I realize the owners were positioning for a sale and then I was out of a job in 2008. So I heard about a position in the billing department at Brewster and applied.

My background was in home care. I went from 10 years of traveling every week, 50 weeks a year, getting up at 3:30 AM to get a 6:00 AM flight, and I enjoyed it. I thought, "How am I ever going to face a regular job to the same office day in and day out?" It was trying, fun, stressful, fabulous. But once I stopped and came to Brewster, I was like, "This is a great place to work—I am really going to enjoy this." I fell right into it very nicely, and started in 2013.

I took a year off because I'd been working so hard. I thought about retiring, but I wasn't ready for that. I couldn't go from 100 MPH to well, maybe we'll go fishing next week. Then I took some temp jobs. So when I landed at Brewster, it was in a fairly related field of health care. My background at my other company when I wasn't traveling—the management part of it—I was head of the IS department and head of payroll, billing and I was familiar with HIPAA policy and working in a highly regulated arena, so I brought with me that understanding.


What excites you about Brewster's growth?

DG: The growth at Brewster has been phenomenal, and that's one of the things that is so exciting. I'm so looking forward to the move to Weymouth in the new headquarters. It's so nice to see the building grow and develop more strongly resembles that beautiful rendering every week. I can't wait for that.

But what really excites me is the new application we're using from Zoll. RescueNet ePCR is the program. The way it works is that as soon as that phone call comes in, the whole billing process is started. In a perfect world, from dispatch to responders—if they perform the appropriate tasks and enter their data correctly—we can get a bill out right away. My experience with billing and budgets in other jobs is that you need sales and you need cash flow. It's important to get the bill out so we can get reimbursed. This new software will ideally allow us to get a claim out 24 hours after the service. You don't have worry about things syncing and papers and what not. It makes the billing end less labor intensive and run so much smoother.

Before we had a software that wasn't as robust or fast. The number of screens you had to visit were greater and the length of time from one screen to another also was greater. It was a significant amount of time that added up. Sometimes information didn't make it over to the software to generate the bill. I can't emphasize the ease of use enough with RescueNet. You can verify the insurance right within that application. You enter the information, you tell the system to verify eligibility. If the patient is enrolled in Medicare, you can confirm it in 10 seconds and that is so key. Not just Medicare, but 90% of the commercial products and MassHealth. All you do is put in the social security number from the very beginning. You don't dread doing the billing, tapping your fingers waiting on the screen. It's all there.

You do have to do some confirming, like with diagnosis. Sometimes the call is one thing and then the responder ends up recording a different diagnosis. Based on the narrative ePCR, we can verify the diagnosis afterwards. When I started here, there were just a few of us in the billing department, and now there's eleven of us. We're busy, busy, busy and I love that. If I'm on something I like to stay on it. What I like about my job is that I can enter the billing, but it also gives me time for claims and problem solving which requires a lot of effort, but I love doing that. A good claim goes through without problems, but there are so many barriers that can stop the claim and it requires human intervention and I now have the time to do that.

When I'm doing the entry in the billing, the part I like best is reading the responder's narrative. It's very touching at times. When you read the narrative, the effort, the concern and the skill set that the responders are bringing, it's quite humbling. We serve a big senior and psychiatric population and we're constantly dealing with calls that involve people who are really dealing with difficult situations. It keeps me in touch with the human side of it. Our EMTs are absolutely fabulous. I have a soft spot in my heart for first responders anyway, and it makes me appreciate that I really have nothing to complain about.

Deb Gilbody

There was one situation where a elderly female patient was known to the responders. There was a question of abuse and all she could do was reach her arms out to the responder that was there, just reading how the poor woman was non-verbal and looking up to the responder with tears in her eyes. So what the EMTs did was they got social services and police involved. Her family was completely unresponsive. I'm not sure, but hopefully they got her out of that awful environment. 

Claims are also part of my time and they involve a good deal of investigation and problem solving. Electronic submission of claims is great, and hopefully if all works well, you get your money. But, the other side of that coin is that it takes one little thing to keep that claim from going through. It could be one letter on a code or sometimes the insurance companies download it and there is an error on the scan. I do all the commercial claims, my counterpart does Medicare and MassHealth, and another does the motor vehicle accident and workers' compensation claims. We have to figure out why didn't these claims get paid and fix them and get these claims paid. We try to figure out, "What happened here? What went wrong here?" And we make it right. Some insurance companies make it easy, and some are not so easy to work with. Some insurance companies can work online, some require very detailed reports on what went wrong. They aren't our errors; it's the insurance company not responding correctly. But we always get to the bottom of it because we've got a great team in our office.


what DO you like about your team?

DG: Everybody is different. They are all personable and everybody is helpful and contributes to one another. It's the, "I'm done, does anyone need any help?" attitude that prevails. We help each other with reading any clinical information. We work in very close quarters, so that's good that we all get along. And we've got more coming in which is great. Everybody supports one another. Everyone is pleasant and funny; a really, really nice group of people. I love not being micromanaged and have great manager support—I can come with questions and get them answered easily. It's a lot of fun.


What do you think is the secret behind Brewster's success?

Deb and Sue

DG: It's the proficiency of the service that we provide to the community. Everyone works so hard here. The management is dedicated and everybody gives 110%. Sure, there are moments of frustration, but I think the biggest frustration from our perspective in billing was getting the information to us so we could get the billing done. Now with this RescueNet application, if everyone does their part, that information is sitting in our laps 24 hours later and it alleviates so much frustration. We don't have to rely on paper claims, because as soon as you put pen to paper that's a document you have to chase after.

We also have a strong sales team and people continue to work very hard. They keep the hiring pace and the HR department has people coming through every day on interviews. I tend to be focused on what I'm doing—I'm like a dog with a bone getting after an insurance company not wanting to pay a claim. In the long run, I believe in order to continue doing the good out there in the field, the company has to do well and that's simple arithmetic. When you get those claims moving and get those payments in, it's good for the company.


What is it you appreciate about the Brewster Family?

DG: I very much respect and admire them as individuals and as business people. They put great emphasis on how they support and show concern for their employees, and it's very visible across the company. And that's key—it's very important. I know that Mark is very responsive, and George is a very smart businessman and they are both kind and friendly on top of it all. I really enjoy working for the Brewster family. I get up in the morning and look forward to working here. It's a nice way to feel at this point in my life. I'm actually excited many times, like when we get a new contract. I take it very personally. That's the sense you get when you work here. You're part of Brewster. Plus, it's nice to walk around town with my Brewster T-shirt. My gym is up from EaseCare and I go to work out and wear my Brewster T-shirt. "Sorry guys," (laughs).

When I was at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton ER with my mother who was having a problem with her leg and I proudly said, "I work for Brewster Ambulance," and the doctor said, "Oh, you do? They were just here a bit ago." The Brewster's also have nice social events. Sunset cruise, family fun day and a wonderful Christmas party every year. You don't see a lot of companies doing that, especially with as many employees as the company has now. It's a nice thing and brings people together.


What do you do for fun outside of work?

DG: What I like to do, oddly enough, is go to the gym. It's my stress reliever. I love hitting the treadmill for 60-90 minutes about four times a week. That's a good week. And I like to catch up on my reading. I'm not that active, I don't go bowling or sky diving, I enjoy a good book, Netflix and the treadmill. In the summertime I used to walk to my gym, but I don't lately. I like to measure how far I go and set the incline on the treadmill. I feel much better afterwards. When I don't feel like going, I say to myself, "Just go and you'll feel great afterwards."


Where did you grow up?

Deb Gilbody

DG: Dorchester. I went to school in Washington, DC, at George Washington University majoring in politics and finished up at UMass in Boston. Then I lived in Boulder for a year, and landed back here in Boston and stayed here ever since. For a brief time I lived in Florida, but that was in the 70s. When I was doing all that traveling for my job, I liked where I lived here in Boston because of how close it was to the airport. Now I've settled back in Dorchester.