Emergency room (ER) secretaries work in the emergency departments of hospitals to register patients. The patient or patient’s family may be asked to fill out forms for the secretary to file, and answering phones is also a significant part of the job.
ER secretaries must obtain insurance information, and it may occasionally be necessary to speak to insurance companies to obtain authorization. They may also have cash-handling duties to accept payments from patients who wish to pay with cash. Other responsibilities include assigning rooms to patients, transferring patients to different departments such as diagnostic testing, and sending patients to triage, and they must also have in-depth knowledge of the hospital's payment schemes, including the sliding scale which adjusts payments according to the income levels of cash-paying patients.
Some medical knowledge and computer skills are necessary for this position, and it's important to have fast and precise ten-key and typing skills. This job can involve high-pressure situations, so multi-tasking and communication skills are also important to interact with patients and medical personnel and help all processes run smoothly. ER secretaries may also serve as liaisons between the emergency department and other areas within the hospital. A high school diploma is generally required for this position, and some employers require at least an associate's degree.
Emergency Room (ER) Secretary Tasks
Interview patients to complete documents, case histories, and forms such as intake and insurance forms.
Maintain and compile records, technical library and correspondence files.
Receive and route messages and documents such as laboratory results to appropriate staff.
Answer telephones, and direct calls to appropriate staff.