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Karen Bowman, FACMPE, CPC, CPMA

I have made some lasting relationships and want to help attendees and state boards as much as I can.

Karen BowmanVolunteer Roles: State Liaison

Why did you decide to get involved with MGMA?

I have served in numerous capacities in our local chapter MGMA for many years, as well as serving with the Tennessee MGMA in several positions, including President. I had a colleague (someone I want to be when I grow up) who volunteered with MGMA and she suggested that I become involved. I feel very passionate about ACMPE and had created two study groups in our local area within the last few years. In the past I was also an Essay Grader for ACMPE, and I enjoyed that tremendously. I felt becoming a State Liaison would be a great experience for me. MGMA has provided me the opportunity to excel myself as a practice administrator with my certification and fellowship and as a leader with our state MGMA. I personally feel more confident in my job and leadership abilities. I am very blessed to be involved in and give back to our local and state chapters and now MGMA.

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for MGMA?

The people I have met while working as a state liaison. Everyone has been welcoming to me. For instance, in Kansas at their spring conference they have casino night. My first year, I played cards with a great group of ladies. This year when I went to their spring conference, they asked me to sit with them again and play. We had a blast. For the brief time I was there during the conference with Kansas and with Louisiana and Mississippi MGMA, I feel I have made some lasting relationships and want to help the attendees and the state boards as much as I can. I am their link to national MGMA. In addition, I have enjoyed very much working with the MGMA staff who have been there for me along the way.  

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

When I was 10, my dad became sick and he passed away when I was 15. I spent many days in the hospital with him during this time. Medicine intrigued me. However, I did not want to be a nurse. I didn’t like looking at blood or anything else. I wanted to work in the medical field, so I started out as a front desk receptionist, worked in the billing department, became a certified coder and then became a practice manager/administrator. It’s all I know. It’s what I love, most days. There are challenges and struggles we all face and that would be the same in any job. 

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

I love Exceptional Leaders Playbook by Tracy Spears. She is one of my favorite speakers. I feel each time I hear her (even if it is the same presentation), I gain some additional knowledge. I also utilize the MGMA Listserv. I belong to several communities that are relevant to my practice and my job. I have used spreadsheets, and many other tools, that members share. I have posed questions and members reply with answers to help me. There is a wealth of information out there, and wonderful members who are willing to help others negotiate healthcare. 

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

Become involved in your local chapter MGMA. Attend local meetings, serve on the board. Join your state chapter MGMA and national MGMA. These three organizations are where you will be able to find life-long friends, get answers to questions that you can’t find anywhere else. They will be a great resource to you. These organizations will help you grow as a manager, they definitely have helped me.  They will give you the necessary tools to become a better you. Be a sponge; absorb all the information you can, you never know when it will come in handy.   

How do you relax after a busy week?

I spend time with my husband, daughter, grandson and my Lilybelle (yorkie). We have game nights occasionally where we play cards, dominoes and board games. Can I say, I like to win? Just being together and having fun, watching television or going to the movies. Sometimes I take a nap – naps are good. Oh, and there is that gambling……… I’ll just leave it at that. 

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

Remember what’s important in life. There are times you have to be available during nonworking hours.  However, for the most part, don’t take your work home with you, don’t check e-mails after hours, don’t stay at the office until late at night. I did this for a long time, and I do have some regrets. However, I felt my job required it. I wish I knew then, what I know now. Take time for your family. Our kids grow up way too fast and you don’t want to miss it. Go to that ballgame, out to dinner, be there for bedtime reading with your child. You will be making memories and memories last a lifetime. Take time for you and remember you are important. And lastly, the one thing we can’t get back in life is time, so enjoy your time and make the most of it. 

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