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Natalie Cizek

Natalie CizekOperations and Compliance Manager, Gateway Medical Associates PC, Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Volunteer Roles: State Liaison

Why did you decide to get involved with MGMA?

I was working for a small rural hospital that encouraged me to join MGMA in 2004 and became totally hooked after attending my first National Conference in Philadelphia. I was new to my role and explored everything MGMA had to offer. A friend who worked locally for another organization asked me to join the Pennsylvania MGMA board of directors, and the rest is history.

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for MGMA?

By far the most rewarding for me are the wonderful people I have met along the way. The networking actually set me on a path toward higher education and a career path that I never could have imagined. Working to help rebuild the Pennsylvania chapter with the help of neighboring state chapters has led to many long-lasting friendships.

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

Actually I didn’t. Our CEO came to me one day (after a long search to fill the position) and said, “You can do this job.” After a year of carrying around the Jet Blue application, I decided that I could. That first year, I lived on MGMA list-serve, exploring other practice manager’s problems and the solutions they arrived at. I even picked up the phone and cold called members with similar issues. They were always willing to help. As my confidence grew, so did my knowledge and, of course, responsibilities.

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

I strongly advise joining their local MGMA chapter and getting involved. Networking locally will help them navigate their market and provide strong resources. Of course I encourage joining national MGMA and attaining ACMPE certification since the credentials are nationally recognized.

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

My favorite book is What Exceptional Leaders Know by Tracy Spears. I find it inspirational for leaders at any stage of their career. The workbook I have used the most is The MGMA Assessment Workbook for Medical Practices. This publication is particularly helpful when an organization is buying or merging medical groups. The one resource that has always been extremely helpful to me is MGMA’s Government Affairs office. Anything you are unsure of or need an answer to, this group is here to help. They always return emails and calls promptly, and their information is reliable.

How do you relax after a busy work week?

My husband and I enjoy flea markets, auctions, yard sales, fishing and visiting local breweries. We spend weekends with family, friends and of course our fur babies. We are new to the meat and cheese smoking process and love to cook for the masses who come to visit us at our Delaware beach house.

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

I found work/life balance a challenge in the beginning, but soon realized that my family and I needed to come first. As someone once said, “We work to live, not live to work.” It’s important to establish boundaries, set protocols and implement systems that allow everyone in your organization to enjoy their time off.


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