Q&A With Emily Carr, Practice Manager
April 15, 2024
By coats2019
By coats2019

This month, get to know Emily Carr, the engine behind our office. As our Practice Manager, she handles our operations and ensures that our families feel well supported. Enjoy getting to know Emily!

How does your medical/clinical background uniquely position you to support C-OATS patients and their families?

“While I play an administrative role in the office, I have a somewhat unique background in that I have medical and public health training, which gives me an understanding of the illnesses treated by Dr. McNulty and Dr. Specht, as well as their treatment plans. This understanding helps me to better serve our patient families by being able to facilitate discussions between our doctors and outside providers. It also equips me to assist with and expedite insurance letters and other insurance communications, and an overall unifying aspect to the practice operations.” 

Can you provide an overview of your role as the office manager in our busy child psychology office?

I am most often the first point of contact for new families and the everyday contact for all administrative issues, as well as requests to help facilitate access to our practitioners. When a new family contacts our practice, whether it be via email, phone or our website intake form, I am on the receiving end. I try to be as efficient as possible in responding to new consultation and ongoing patient family requests. 

I also assist both Dr. McNulty and Dr. Specht in their everyday activity by providing real-time technical support for our telehealth platform, responding to urgent patient needs and communications while the doctors are in patient meetings during the day. I manage both doctor’s calendars, scheduling all patient/family meetings, as well as care coordination meetings with other providers. I also manage the invoicing system, from individual weekly invoices to monthly and even yearly summary invoices. I also serve as the point of contact for insurance companies. Although we do not participate in any insurance programs, we communicate as needed to optimize reimbursement for our patient families. I also take all of the practice after-hours calls, providing 24h triage of urgent issues as needed. In summary, I manage all aspects of C-OATS patient administration.  

What can parents know ahead of time when approaching the process at C-OATS?

We are a different kind of doctor’s office! We’re not your typical office where patients are last names and dates of birth. At C-OATS, your family will feel like you are our only patients; we know you and your child (and often your pets and favorite sports!) and do our best to meet your needs in an efficient way; we’re responsive and accessible and care about each individual family’s needs. 

What specific challenges do you face in managing a busy child psychology office? 

One of the biggest challenges is balancing everyone’s schedules. Our patient population consists of busy families and young adults who are also balancing many extracurricular activities and school schedules, and for many of the young adults, job schedules. These schedules are dynamic and do have a predictable seasonal change, but they often change day-to-day and require us to be proactive and flexible to anticipate needs and facilitate fitting everyone’s schedule into the calendar so that we can optimize treatment plans. 

How do you prioritize and manage the scheduling of appointments for child patients, considering their unique needs and sensitivities?

We make a special effort to be aware of local school schedules, as well as the school attended by each of our patients, to be cognizant of the academic schedule including school breaks, as we often need to get creative to fit everyone into the schedule.  

What strategies do you employ to ensure a smooth and efficient flow of operations within the office?

All four of us communicate regularly. With the small size of our staff and the fact that each family has a dedicated practitioner and the same person to schedule and manage all of their administrative needs, there is little room for error, delay, or miscommunication. 

In a field as sensitive as child psychology, how do you ensure confidentiality and privacy are maintained throughout the office?

Privacy and confidentiality are paramount to our practice. The size of our staff limits the sharing of any information/handling of PHI to a very small group of people (often and typically just the Practice Manager (me) and the practitioner) and limits any possibility or breach of confidentiality. Another benefit of our small staff size is that it decreases the possibility of miscommunication due to transfer of information from person to person. Most office communication is directly between the practitioner and myself. 

What steps do you take to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for children and their families when they visit the office?

We try our best to set expectations and maintain predictability for our families. The theme of individual treatment also carries through to our office environment, as the office is such that there are never more than one or two families in the office at a time. 

How do you stay updated on best practices and developments in child psychology administration to enhance the services provided by the office?

This is one area where my work as a clinical researcher in pediatric hepatology and liver transplant aligns well with the mission of C-OATS. I am continually reading and obtaining new knowledge through academic journals. As an author of several peer-reviewed journal articles myself, I have developed a keen ability to dissect and understand current research and developments. 

Can you share an example of a challenging situation you encountered as an office manager in this setting and how you successfully resolved it?

One challenging situation I encounter somewhat regularly is navigating communication with our young adult patients. Young adults comprise a significant percentage of our patient population and helping to foster their independence and encourage ownership of their care while balancing parental involvement to ensure adherence to appointments  can be very challenging. The relationships I build with our young patients help to make me approachable and easy to communicate with, increasing compliance for this population, which is invaluable to their treatment. 

What do you find most rewarding about your role as the office manager in a child psychology office, and how does it align with your professional goals and values?

I enjoy getting to know our patients and their families in a way that complements the clinical aspects of their care. I work so closely with each family that I have the opportunity to and very much enjoy celebrating achievements and milestones with them. I feel as though I provide a different kind of “care” to our families.

What are your interests/hobbies outside of the office?

I live in Ridgefield, CT with my husband and young son. He is by far my  most favorite interest and makes my days crazy and busy, but so much fun. I also enjoy running and triathlons, having run 13 marathons (so far!) and competed in a few dozen triathlons. My husband and I even got engaged at the finish line of the London Marathon. I dream of one day having my son watch his mommy run my most favorite race, the Boston Marathon, from the sidelines at the halfway point and my alma mater, Wellesley College. I am active in my local community as a volunteer at many of our local running events, as well as serve on the Board of Directors of my hometown’s chapter of the Special Olympics.



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