1. Dellosso, Mike PTA
  2. Arevalo, Stevi

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Stevi Arevalo's day starts at 5:00 a.m. She climbs out of bed and jumps right into a 25-minute aerobic workout. "I figure since I sit most of the day, I should get some exercise," she says. Stevi is one of six schedulers for a large home health organization in southcentral Pennsylvania. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic she has been working from home for several months.


After her morning exercise, Stevi sits at her home desk to begin her day. Her primary responsibility is to manage and monitor clinician schedules to make sure they are kept full and all visits are covered. Every day she engages in a careful balancing act of keeping clinicians, supervisors, and patients happy. Scheduling isn't her only duty-there are emails to contend with, phone calls, supervisors to work with, meetings to attend, and special projects that need attention. It's enough to fill a day and then some.


Stevi usually starts her day tackling email (which may total 100 a day). She spends the first hour chipping away at them, but often the task isn't complete until 11:00. During that first hour she is also bouncing back and forth with the nursing and rehab supervisors to ensure all visits for the day are covered and finding solutions for uncovered visits. Some days this goes smoother than others.


"Today we had two clinicians call off," she reports. "Trying to find coverage for their visits can be quite a task." When a clinician calls off, their patients still need to be seen. Getting them assigned can be like a game of musical chairs. Stevi likes to keep patients with clinicians they've seen before if possible, so she checks to see which clinicians have seen them in the past. She then checks location, diagnosis, insurance, and any special instructions or requests the patient has. Once she has a good picture of the patient and who is best to cover the visit, she works with the supervisors to contact those clinicians to see if they are able or willing to pick up extra visits. "Today," she says, "I got lucky and had volunteers."


Most of this work takes place before 8:00 a.m. At 8:00, she begins receiving phone calls from nurses, therapists, and patients. "At this point it gets very busy because the more calls I receive the harder it is to complete my other tasks." It now feels like she's playing musical chairs while juggling multiple balls. At this point, the interruptions become constant but the pace of activity makes the day go by quickly.


"Most of the calls I receive are easy going, which I do appreciate," Stevi says. But at times she receives calls from unhappy patients wondering why they did not receive a promised visit or upset because their clinician is running late. With these calls, Stevi does her best to fix the situation on her end, then refers the patient to a supervisor to complete the service recovery. In the midst of dealing with all this, Stevi has meetings to attend as well.


"I usually have one meeting in the morning to go over uncovered visits." This meeting is with all the schedulers and supervisors to review uncovered visits and plan how those visits will be covered. There is also an afternoon meeting to make the supervisors aware of what visits might be uncovered for the following day. Stevi said, "This helps us all get an idea of what tomorrow will look like."


At the end of her shift, Stevi finishes up responding to messages that came in during the day and gets all schedules as complete as she can, hoping there will be less to do in the morning. It is a hope that is rarely enjoyed. Her whirlwind day ends between 3:30 and 4:00 with a sigh of relief.