PH DuBois Recognizes Long-Time Employees

July 06, 2016

Laura Smith at work as she has done for more than 40 years.

Forty years is a long time for anything. Spending 40 plus years on a job shows devotion.

Recently, Penn Highlands DuBois recognized its employees reaching milestones, including several who reached the 45 and 40 years marks.

Laura Smith of DuBois has been at PH DuBois for 45 years. She is an insurance specialist level two in the Business Office and has sent many an insurance claim to insurance companies for payment.

“I have always been in the Business Office, but I started as a cashier, and I posted charges for all departments by hand and handled all patient payments,” she said.

She has enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with all the changes in insurance billing. “I like having had a steady job for all these years, and getting claims billed and paid correctly and timely by insurance,” she said. “I take pride in my job.”

Linda Perrin of Falls Creek, PH DuBois’ Surgical Supply coordinator, also has 45 years in. She is responsible for ordering supplies that are needed for surgery such as heart valves, tendons, lenses for cataract surgery, implants for total joints and many more similar operations.

Perrin said she enjoys “interacting with staff, surgeons and sales representatives to get the correct product at the correct price for our patients.”

Kim E. Pifer of DuBois is a registered nurse and certified lactation counselor. She has worked at PH DuBois for 40 years. She is the Healthy Beginnings coordinator, which means she does prenatal histories and cares for, teaches and gives referrals to pregnant patients with Medical Assistance insurances. She has done that for 20 plus years and has 31 years working on the Maternity Unit floor, because sometimes, it has been a duel job for her.

What keeps her going? “The love of the patients I work with,” Pifer said. “The love of the Maternity Department and all my co-workers on OB and in the office. I love babies!” She said she enjoys the educating, listening to and helping her patients any way she can.

What’s different about today?

The ladies have seen changes. “Patients take more control of their healthcare,” Smith said. “They research for information and make decisions on their own treatment plans and request that certain tests be done.”

When Smith started “we had not hit the electronic era, yet. Everything was done by hand. We had no computers, copiers or fax machines. We typed bills on a manual typewriter to send to both insurance companies and to the patient for their balance.”

She noted that her first year, 1970, the starting wage was $1.60 per hour and there were rules about women not wearing pants. Times have changed.

Perrin agreed that going from mostly manual processes to automated processes has been a big difference.

“Everything in maternity has changed since I started 41 years ago,” Pifer said, “except having the baby.”

What about the future? Pifer said she is looking forward in the future to “slowing down” and looking forward to retirement, enjoying her wonderful children and grandchildren. Smith and Perrin are thinking about it, too.

For those considering a healthcare career, Smith said, “It’s a good career choice. There are many different areas you can go to school for and be trained in for a rewarding lifetime career.”

“In our modern world of change, companies consider themselves lucky to have an employee stay more than a few years,” John Sutika, president of PH DuBois, said. “We at Penn Highlands DuBois are fortunate to have many employees who have dedicated decades of service working for us. Longevity helps us remember the past and understand the importance of innovation. Longevity also creates a family atmosphere, where some of our employees have known each other for most of their lives. We are thankful to all of them.”