September 25, 2023
Get to know an SFM employee: Meet a member of our in-house bill review team
Kirsten Peterson has been a Medical Support Representative at SFM for two years, and in the workers’ compensation industry for 15 years. Kirsten is part of SFM’s in-house bill review team. We asked Peterson to share a little bit about her background and her role.
How did you get into workers’ compensation?
I just kind of fell into it by getting a temp job at a small workers’ compensation third-party administrator. I later got a job with a large pharmacy benefits manager. That’s where I learned a lot about medication and authorization and different rules for different states regarding medication. I still use that knowledge to this day, which is really cool. It’s kind of funny how it comes full circle.
How did you end up at SFM?
When I moved back to Minnesota, I made a list of the insurance carriers that were local and who had the nicest adjusters and SFM was at the top.
How would you describe your role in a nutshell?
A lot of what we do is processing medical bills, but a lot of people don’t know that we also educate medical providers to make sure they are billing us correctly and that we’re also paying them correctly. We also work closely with different state agencies to make sure that we’re following state-specific guidelines and rules. When we’re reviewing medical bills, we’re looking to make sure the bill relates to our injury. Sometimes we’re even identifying additional body parts or red flags in the medical records and passing that information on to the adjuster. They appreciate having us as their second set of eyes.
How is SFM different from other organizations you’ve worked for?
There’s a big sense of family, which I really love. Everyone is super kind, super friendly, super nice, very, very helpful. I love how close knit everyone is and you make relationships with people as you get to know them. We have a big focus on collaboration and learning from one another and teaching one another. I love having the opportunity to teach people on my team. Everyone’s feedback is heard and is welcomed. I work for an amazing team. Everyone’s super supportive. My boss is amazing. I love it a lot.
What do you like about your job?
I love that it’s completely different every single day. We have our basic set of tasks, but how you approach a bill is different from bill to bill and even claim to claim. I love provider phone calls because they keep us on our toes. Sometimes it’s a simple phone call wanting to know if the bill was received, and sometimes it’s a lot more complex.
What’s most challenging about your job?
There’s a lot of different state rules and regulations, so as we branch out into new states – which is really awesome and exciting – there’re new things that we have to learn, so we have to do the research. We have to reach out to other departments of labor and industry and make sure that we’re doing things appropriately, so that’s where it can get a little bit challenging.
What words of wisdom do you have for employers?
Make sure injured workers know to give our billing information right away when they go to medical appointments. If they don’t have a claim number yet, that’s OK. At least give our mailing address. That’ll ensure a smooth billing process, and they won’t get any unexpected bills sent to them.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from International Falls, Minnesota, and I picked my college for their hockey team. I don’t necessarily recommend that as a method to choose your education, but it was also a good school (University of North Dakota). I have a 12-year-old nephew who does it all. I like to go to his hockey games, football games, baseball games, and now he’s a cowboy, so we keep pretty busy attending all of his sporting events, or if I can’t make it, my mom takes a video for me so I can cheer from afar.