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Andrew Smith, MHA, FACMPE

Andrew Smith, MHA, FACMPERegional Director of Operations, Saint Thomas Medical Partners

Volunteer Roles: ACMPE Study Group Presenter

Why did you decide to get involved with MGMA? 

MGMA is really the gold standard for practice management leaders. You have access to so many exceptional, experienced leaders, as well as so many tools and resources that you can access almost anytime. It's the connections I've made with those MGMA leaders that hooked me early on and have kept me coming back ever since.

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for MGMA? 

I've been a consumer of MGMA resources for several years now, and though I'm still somewhat of an early careerist, I feel that I have something to contribute. I didn't realize the amount of work that volunteers provide to ensure other practice leaders have these incredible tools, so it is very rewarding to share with others the knowledge and experiences I've had up to this point. 

How did you decide that practice management was the career for you? 

My mother deserves a lot of the credit; she dropped my brother and I off at our local rural health clinic back in 1998 to volunteer for the summer to keep us out of trouble, and I kept coming back every summer and holiday I could for the next ten years. This opportunity opened my eyes to the inner workings of a practice, and the physician leaders and practice administrator allowed me to gain so many experiences during those years that taught me so much. While there were times I considered being a physician because of my compassion for patients, I fell in love with the business side and was driven to see that any practice I was involved with would provide the best patient experience and be sound operationally so that patients would always have a place to obtain quality care.

What is the best tip you give to people who are just starting a career in practice management? 

Don't limit yourself in any way; latch on to any experience that you can because you never know who you might meet or what you might learn. If you've never worked the front desk, do it. If you've never bought supplies for your practice, take a stab at it. If you've never washed a wheelchair or answered incoming calls, don't be a afraid to get your hands dirty. I learned more than any textbook could teach me from working side by side with employees and eating lunch in the break room with them. Visit other practices and observe what they do well; don't ever stop looking for ways to learn from others.

What is your favorite book or website or resource for practice managers? 

MGMA is an incredible resource for practice management leaders. I also enjoy reading Modern Healthcare to stay up to speed on the ever-changing landscape.

How do you relax after a busy work week?   

Spending time outdoors with my wife and my 21-month old son. He reminds me that life is way more than just work.

What is your top tip for maintaining work/life balance? 

There is a really great Venn diagram that has two circles with one that is labeled "Things that Matter", and the other is labeled "Things You Can Control". It gives a representation where the two overlap in the middle to help you remember to focus on the things that matter and the things you have control over. While other things might be important in the grand scheme of things, you really have to focus on what you can truly impact. It is a picture that I continue to keep in my mind and share with others to help stay focused. 


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