EVIDELSY VAZQUEZ: AUTHORIZATIONS AND VERIFICATIONS TEAM LEAD, TAMPA
Our employees are all patient care champions, but some go the extra mile and we want to give them the recognition they deserve. They embody the PPOA values known as S.I.T.E. – Safety, Integrity, Teamwork, Empathy – which informs our service to patients and the community through high quality health care.
Evidelsy “Evi” Vazquez gets excited talking about insurance. Who does that? you might ask. Talk to her for a few minutes and you’ll understand why.
Vazquez is an authorization and verification specialist team lead, the one who tells patients what their insurance covers. She also leads the 18-member team responsible for clinics, procedure suites and ambulatory surgery centers. Her department’s goals are to deliver authorizations to the clinics, allowing physicians to perform needed procedures helping patients get out of pain.
“I love knowing what we can do to help someone,” she says. “We’re up against insurance companies. If they don’t want to pay, you’re limited. But an insurance verification and authorization specialist finds out why they don’t want to pay and finds out what can be done to get that claim paid. Knowing I can help really makes me keep pushing.”
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y. who moved to Bethlehem, Penn. at age 11, Vazquez has an innate desire to help others and was always drawn to healthcare. She earned her Certified Medical Assistant certificate at Star Technical Institute in Allentown, Penn., then began work at nearby Lehigh Valley Hospital.
The physician residents who staffed the facility had an all-hands-on-deck mentality that allowed medical assistants to learn a variety of tasks. “They let us do a lot of hands-on work because they were learning, too,” she says. “I worked the front desk doing insurance. I took out sutures. I assisted with injections. I scheduled patients. I loved being so involved,” she says, adding that she enjoyed working in the hospital’s pain clinic.
That experience helped her find her niche. Evidelsy Vazquez moved to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Penn., and became a financial counselor. She loved helping patients understand changes in insurance plans, and getting referrals and authorizations.
“I Realized How Important Insurance Is”
From there, Vazquez moved to Florida and helped start up the verification team at the now-defunct Laser Spine Institute. After ten years of growing that part of the organization, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her work had taken a personal turn.
Out of work for 18 months, the company could not hold her job and the insurance coverage that came with it. She got by through grants, help from her family, and sacrifice. “I was self-pay for everything,” she recalls. “I tried to apply for grants, used pharmacy discounts, got fewer pills and stretched them out until someone could give me money,” she said. “I realized how important insurance is.”
As she got back on her feet, she she decided to start job-hunting. She found PPOA through am amazing coincidence.
“On the day I learned I was in remission, I was sitting in the waiting room at Florida Cancer Center and saw a commercial for Dr. James St. Louis,” she recalls. Dr. St. Louis had recently come from Laser Spine Institute to PPOA to head its laser spine division. Vazquez had enjoyed working with him at LSI and immediately applied to PPOA “for any job I could.”
Putting Patients First
Vazquez says she enjoys the patients-first environment at PPOA, and the unique challenges she handles every day: winter visitors with out-of-state insurance, the different specialties she works with, and trying to help people get insured for procedures.
“A lot of it is making sure our documentations meet the insurance requirements so they could cover what a patient can or can’t do physically. That can make all the difference,” she says. “So I work closely with the clinics.”
Her manager, Christopher Ripoli, enthusiastically nominated her as a PPOA Patient Care Champion.
“Evi’s leadership capabilities, caring not just for patients but for her coworkers and team members, demonstrates her exceptional understanding and qualities that are an asset to the department, as well as to PPOA’s mission and values,” he says.
In addition to helping others at work, Vazquez is a giver in her personal life. She is the wife of a pastor, the Rev. Miguel Marquez of Church of God Ebenezer in Tampa. They have a blended family of four daughters and a son.
Evidelsy Vazquez has founded her own ministry, Abby’s Heart Mission Ministries, inspired by her own late mother’s personal mission trips to the Dominican Republic. Vazquez and her ministry have helped feed and clothe hundreds in the impoverished Caribbean island for the past four years. The ministry also has delivered kids’ school backpacks and blankets to the homeless in Tampa.
Did you know that PPOA offers FREE online insurance verification? Click here for details.