You’ve heard from JMU student Becca and JMU alumnus Noah about their career fair success. Now, meet Parallon, a company attending JMU’s Career & Internship Fair!
We hope to see you at the fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM in the Festival Ballroom!
We interviewed three employees of Parallon, two of which are JMU alumni! They discuss the company’s culture, how to stand out as a candidate, two positions for which they are currently hiring, and more.
Natalie French graduated from JMU in May 2012 with a B.B.A in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management. She was the VP of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a member of the Marching Royal Dukes for three years!
David Mooney is Parallon’s Governmental Collections Manager. He graduated in 2012 with a major in Healthcare Administration and minor in General Business. He was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity!
Sara Watson is the Compliance Director/Ethics& Compliance Officer(ECO)/ Facility Privacy Officer (FPO) at Parallon, and she majored in Health Services Administration and graduated from JMU in 2003. She was involved with the HSA Student Association and served as VP of the club!
Tell us about the company culture at Parallon.
Our purpose is to “serve and enable those who care for and improve human life in their communities.” Parallon is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HCA, or Hospital Corporation of America, which is a leading healthcare provider in the USA and the UK. We manage the business office functions and the overall revenue cycle for HCA facilities. For example, when a patient visits an HCA facility, Parallon is responsible for billing the patient’s insurance company and collecting payment from the insurance company for the service that was provided. This can also include other functions such as customer service, billing, collections, working claims appeals, and other various functions.
In short, Parallon can be viewed as the “business side of healthcare.” Although we may not all directly interact with the patients on a day to day basis, our top priority is to maintain a positive patient experience and to continue to be a patient-focused organization every day.
What’s the biggest draw for a JMU student to work at Parallon? What positions are you currently hiring for?
We are focused on employee development and career paths within the organization. As an example, we are currently recruiting for our Manager-in-Training program. This is an entry level position that is specifically designed to provide the participant with an understanding of the business as a whole by rotating through various departments and participating in developmental activities over an 18-month period. After this learning period, the goal is to transition these participants to leadership positions within the Richmond Shared Services Center.
In addition, we are also currently recruiting for interns at our Richmond Shared Services Center. Our commitment to our internship program also exemplifies our dedication to employee development. Interns will be assigned specific projects and developmental activities to allow them the opportunity to learn more about Parallon and the healthcare industry. The goal is for successful interns to transition into the Manager-in-Training program upon graduation.
Joining the Parallon team is also an excellent career path for those individuals that are interested in gaining exposure to the healthcare industry, but do not necessarily want to be involved in the hands-on clinical side of healthcare.
What can JMU students do to stand out as a candidate?
At Parallon, we are specifically looking for students with demonstrated leadership experience, strong critical thinking skills, and effective communication skills.
How should students market themselves as JMU graduates?
Interpersonal skills are a consistent strength across JMU students. Tap into the strength of your interpersonal skills when networking and connecting with employers.
Did you intern as a student? What was your experience like?
Natalie: “I completed a summer HR internship with ABM Industrial Services. In this internship, I gained exposure to detailed clerical and legal and tasks associated with HR by completing an audit of terminated employee files.
I also completed a Management Rotation Internship at a Fairfield Inn & Suites. In this internship, I learned the significance of rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done. I also learned the importance of customer service.”
David: “One of the requirements of my major was to complete an internship in a healthcare organization. I completed mine at Spotsylvania Medical Center, a hospital right outside of Fredericksburg VA. Basically my role there was to shadow different areas of the hospital, and complete various tasks for the hospital administrative team. I gained a basic understanding of how a hospital operates, which has been extremely helpful in my roles at the business office.”
Sara: “As a requirement of the HSA program, I completed a post-graduation internship with HCA’s Capital Division Office reporting to the VP of Managed Care. I assisted with building all the payers/contracts into a Master Payer system as well as participated in negotiation meetings with top payers in the area. I also got invited to join the annual corporate wide Managed Care meeting that all the managed care teams across the company came together for meetings and education sessions which was a great honor so I really felt like I was one of the team. It was a great experience and I developed great relationships with key players in the organization that ultimately helped me land my first job within several months of graduating. I have been with HCA/Parallon my entire career because I truly believe it is a great company to work for.”
How did your experiences as a student prepare you for this role?
Natalie: “My HR classes provided the most preparation for my role in talent acquisition. They provided me with knowledge regarding legalities in the world of hiring, recruitment strategies, and how to tap into talented candidates that will be a fit for the organization.”
David: “One of the biggest things that being a student taught me was how to manage time wisely and prioritize projects based on level of importance. There is never a slow moment in our industry, and usually we are juggling many different projects/issues at a time. In some ways it is similar to the second half of college semesters, where there are two or three tests in a week, projects due and presentations to prepare for. It is very key as a student, and as a professional, that you are managing your time wisely so that you can successfully complete everything that is expected of you. JMU does an excellent job, in my opinion, preparing people for the demands of the ‘real world.’”
Sara: “Certainly, being involved in a leadership position in a student organization, as well as working part time at a local Harrisonburg Physician office, gave me a great foundation and solidified my passion for the healthcare field. In addition, as part of the ACHESA student group I attended ACHE conferences over spring break in Chicago both my Jr and Sr years was an unmatched experience. Not only did I network with my peers but I also learned about the top issues impacting healthcare as well as met current leaders in the healthcare field. I am still good friends with many of my HSA Alum Dukes. I truly believe success in any career path is a combination of hard work, opportunity and timing.”
Is this the career path you envisioned as a student?
Natalie: “Yes. Upon completing my Bachelor’s degree, I attended West Virginia University and received my Master’s in Industrial Relations & Human Resources. Early on as a student, I had a strong desire to pursue a career in the field of human resources and I have been fortunate to have been provided with opportunities to fulfill these career aspirations.”
David: “It’s actually exactly the career path that I was hoping to get into. I knew that I wanted to be in the healthcare industry, but wasn’t 100% sold on working in direct patient care. Being in the business office allows me to help those who are face-to-face with patients each day without having to actually be in that setting. Even though my role does not involve direct patient contact, it is rewarding to know that what we do helps the hospitals do what they do better.”
Sara: “I am not surprised I ended up in the healthcare field. My mom was a nurse and my grandfather was a doctor. I thought I wanted to be a nurse but after one week in an EMT class decided hands on healthcare was not my cup of tea but wanted to still make a difference from an administrative position. I would never have guessed that I would have ended up as a Compliance Director, however I am extremely grateful I did. I love my job and this is the perfect role for me, my personality and my skillset. I feel mentally challenged each day and come home with a sense of accomplishment. My role in compliance is extremely important in the ever changing healthcare environment and at Parallon we take extreme pride in doing things right and doing the right thing. We are one of the top most ethical healthcare companies per Ethisphere the last few years and our top focus is ensuring a positive patient experience. I proud to be a part of such an ethical and patient focused company.”
What is your best piece of career advice for students?
Natalie: “Always stay humble. Be willing to learn from and listen to the advice and suggestions of more seasoned employees, regardless of their position in the organization relative to yours. Understand the importance of being able to communicate with different types of employees and how you can learn from each of these employees.”
David: “Don’t forget about the basics. Show up early, dress and act professionally, don’t miss work, show respect to others, etc. While they may seem obvious, they are the foundation to any successful career.”
Sara: “Build your resume. Build your knowledge. Build your relationships. Build your wealth. Build your resume by volunteering, interning, working in the field that interests you which shows your passion towards your future career to potential employers. Build your knowledge by perpetually learning and being open to new ideas and concepts. There is always more to learn and people are more willing to help you grow if you are willing to embrace the knowledge being passed down. Build lasting relationships by connecting with your professors, your peers, your family members, community organizations and even potential employers. Get to know your colleagues both personally and professionally so you can earn a solid reputation and lean on those relationships to help you get exactly where you want to go. You can’t do it alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and be willing to help others when they are in need. And finally when you get into the real world, Build your wealth early. Sign up for a 401K on your first day of your new job and put in at least as much as your company will match and aim to increase to 10% savings as soon as possible. Parallon has great retirement benefits with options to auto increase your savings annually, as well as pre-mixed portfolio options based on years left until retirement stepping you down from high risk to low risk as you near retirement age. It’s been easy contributing to my 401K when the tools and resources have been laid out for me.”