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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Employees share why they chose Geisinger, and why they stay

“When I was a kid, we’d play Army and I’d be the medic,” says Bret Stemrich, chief advanced practitioner (AP) of community medicine at Geisinger’s Kingston Clinic. “I just always wanted to be involved, so it felt like a natural calling.” Bret followed that voice within, joining the U.S. Army right out of high school and becoming a medical specialist with the Airborne at Fort Bragg. 
“I came to appreciate medicine at its finest in the military because it’s raw, physical diagnosis,” says Bret, who continues to serve in the National Guard. “Our training teaches us to pay attention to the little details. Everything in community medicine is about attention to detail.” 
Getting to know his patients well and being able to detect small details during an evaluation —to potentially lessen future health risks — are aspects of his practice that Bret could not live without. For his first civilian position, he admits being apprehensive about considering Geisinger. “I assumed because it was such a large organization, that I would lose all personalization, be micromanaged and forced to focus on numbers rather than names. Once I was hired, I found that every fear I had was completely unfounded.” 

A team effort

When asked why he stays at Geisinger, Bret says, “I love that I have the support of the many entities within Geisinger. Healthcare is a team effort, and with Geisinger, I know that within a couple keystrokes or a quick phone call, I can facilitate better patient care. That makes me more effective.”   
“I was worried about feeling like just a number, but instead I feel like an important part of the team, and an important team at that. I like that we are constantly trying to evolve and expand access to communities that need it. The food banks, case management and Life Geisinger — I enjoy being a part of this team and being able to contribute,” he says.  
“I started as a PA in family medicine. Five years later, I’m the AP chief of community medicine, and I get to sit on the AP Council. We have the AP leadership presence in every department in every region.” 
Bret was serving as the AP champion for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties when a discrepancy in reimbursement for continuing medical education (CME) came to his attention. “Geisinger is good about the time allowed for CME, 10 days, which is more than most systems,” he explains. “But we noticed that the CME reimbursement rate for APs had not increased to match new standards.” By working with other APs, the Executive Leadership Committee, and Human Resources, Bret participated in the resolution of this oversight. Effective July 1, 2019, Geisinger APs will receive the up-to-date and more accurately representative CME reimbursement rate.  

Veteran focus

The desire to make a difference is a characteristic that many veterans carry over from military to civilian life. As a beneficiary of that dedication, Geisinger places high value on its veteran and active-duty employees. “Geisinger is wonderful to veterans from an employment standpoint. A veteran liaison was just hired in HR,” Bret says. “That shows quite a bit of commitment.”  
To veterans or active-duty military members interested in a career at Geisinger, Bret adds, “I have never once felt that my service has gotten in the way of my work here. I have the time off necessary to fulfill my obligations, and when I was activated in 2017, I received the support I needed and didn’t have to worry about my patients.” 
Nurse Dawn Erfman and chief advanced practitioner Bret Stemrich review a file in the Geisinger Kingston Clinic.
Nurse Dawn Erfman and chief advanced practitioner Bret Stemrich in the Geisinger Kingston Clinic.

Geisinger Family Bonds

Employees share why they chose Geisinger, and why they stay
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