By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, October 2019
When most people think of health care, they think of doctors and nurses. What they often don’t realize is that it takes a whole host of people with a variety of skills to make a hospital run smoothly.
Jennifer Wieck is one of those people.
She started at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) in August 2015 as the director of accounting and reimbursement and in 2017, she became the controller, a position she is still in today.
In this position, Wieck supervises CCH’s accounting department which processes all payments that come into the hospital, including patient payments, insurance payments, miscellaneous money, child care payments, cafeteria money, Gift Shop money and all the payments for the CCH clinics as well. The department also processes all payments to CCH’s vendors through the accounts payable process.
Personally, Wieck prepares the monthly financial statements for the finance committee and the hospital board for review. She also creates the yearly budget for capital items, small equipment, statistics, full-time equivalents (FTEs), and operating expenses with input from all the hospital directors.
Additionally, Wieck is involved in the completion of the 990-tax return for the hospital and the CCH Foundation, the cost report and the annual financial audit for the hospital and the Foundation. She also completes the financial statements for the CCH Foundation for the finance and executive meetings, which are held quarterly.
With this variety of tasks, Wieck said she has no typical day at work.
“No one day is the same. Depending on the time of the month, I work on the financial statements, making sure that all the revenue and expenses are accounted for and are accurate and going to the correct general ledger number,” she said. “Other times, I spend my time working on audit, cost report, budget or 990 preparation.”
Wieck has had plenty of experience with these tasks, thanks to her bachelor’s degree in accounting and her experience working for other health care organizations.
Before coming to CCH in 2015, Wieck worked at a smaller hospital for 10 years. She started out as a part-time receptionist for their attached clinic and after a couple years, she moved into their business office manager position. In this role, she supervised the admissions, billing, coding, information systems, human resources and finance departments.
“This was a small hospital, so each of those departments contained one person. I was the only one in the information systems and finance departments. In my primary role, finance, I processed the payments, dealt with patient questions and concerns, prepared the monthly financial reports and worked with the auditing firm on the annual audit,” she said. “I wore many hats and had to split my time between many different tasks.”
Through this position, Wieck said she “learned all aspects of the business office activities for a small hospital.”
Though Wieck said it was a learning process to go from a small hospital to a hospital the size of CCH, she said that CCH’s leadership and staff have been very supportive.
“The senior leaders and everyone else that I work with have all been helpful and supportive as I’ve grown in my position,” she said.
Wieck also continues to grow and learn as she adapts to the changing health care field.
“Health care is always changing,” she said. “New regulations, standards, and guidelines are always coming out, even in the accounting world…In health care, there is always something new to learn.”
For more information on Wieck and the financial side of CCH, visit http://www.columbushosp.org.