Meet this friendly medical debt collector in Kansas

Sandy Entriken does not always see people at their best.

As the only full-time worker at Accounts Receivable Services in Salina, Kan., she routinely deals with customers who are not pleased because they owe money for medical services, according to a Salina Journal report.

Accounts Receivable is one of several agencies that administer payment plans for Salina Regional Health Center, in addition to working for other medical clinics and a few nonmedical companies.

While Ms. Entriken deals with customers who are unhappy, she tries to do so with a friendly face, according to the report.

"We try to get people through it and do a good job collecting for the hospital," Ms. Entriken told the Salina Journal. "You have to be very compassionate and understanding. These are medical bills. It's not like these people went out and bought furniture or a TV, or something they shouldn't have."

She added, a child falling off a bicycle, breaking an arm and needing stitches "is not something that was a choice. Most people don't decide on a Saturday night to go to the hospital and rack up a big bill."

Ms. Entriken told the Salina Journal about a few of the unpleasant interactions she's had during her time at Accounts Receivable. Some people have thrown money and stomped out the door, while others have been reduced to tears. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also patients who are extremely happy that they're alive to pay their bill, she told the publication.

"I walk them through the process, to bring in a payment, pay online, or call me and we'll take a card over the phone," Ms. Entriken said, according to the report. "I try to keep their credit in good standing. Most do really well and listen. For some, there is just not enough money, and I point them to help."

By treating patients with dignity and respect, Ms. Entriken is continuing the legacy of the late Jim Cooper, who founded Accounts Receivable in the mid-1980s, Rita Cooper, his widow, said, according to the report.

"That's the way Jim treated people, with dignity and respect, and that's what I've seen Sandy do since she’s been working there," Rita Cooper said, according to the report. "She does exemplify what my husband instilled in the business. It was a welcome place for people to come in."

 

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