Charismatic, caring and ambitious, that’s how Patricia “Pattie” Hulmes’ co-workers describe her. Hulmes, of Rocky Point, never thought her positive attitude was anything to fuss over, until she was awarded the Living the Mission Award in early July, by her co-workers at the Catholic Health Services.
As the office manager of revenue cycle at CHS, Hulmes oversees several employees. She joined CHS in 2007 and despite her workload, Hulmes always makes the time to ensure the well-being of those surrounding her and she does it with a smile on her face.
“Even dealing with all her staff and work, she took the time to [ask] ‘Are you okay? What’s going on?’” Paula Palazzo said, recounting a time when she began transitioning into a different position at the company. “She always has a smile on her face and she’s always there to cheer you up.”
Palazzo and Hulmes have known one another for seven years and Palazzo, like other individuals working alongside Hulmes, believe she is the perfect candidate for the award.
CHS created the Living the Mission Award several years ago with the goal of acknowledging employees for exemplifying the company’s values of respect, integrity, justice and excellence.
“I think in the day-to-day working environment, it’s so easy to become drowned in the minutia of the details, and we forget that behind all of those details are people. We’re not running through a field of daisies everyday, so there are things that we become so engrossed with,” Hulmes said. “We forget the people around us are drowning in that same minutia. So it’s important for us to treat each other with respect and to acknowledge people when we pass them in the hall.”
Saying good morning and greeting people throughout the building is second nature for Hulmes, so receiving the award was a shock.
“She’s quite surprised because that’s her way of life, and the sad part is, not everybody is like she is,” Susane Lim said about Hulmes. Lim is one of Hulmes’ system directors at the company. Within the seven months they have known one another, Hulmes is one of Lim’s favorite people at work.
To nominate an employee for this annual award, employees must select one of their peers and discuss why they embody the company’s values on an online application. A small ceremony is held for recipients of the award. CHS President and CEO Alan Guerci presented Hulmes with the award during the ceremony.
Although Hulmes does not deal with CHS patients, she helps patients receive affordable care. CHS helps members of the community that can’t afford traditional health care. The company helps find sources that can offset the cost of an appointment for the patients it serves.
According to Lim, the company has a variety of plans for those who can’t afford health care. The plans also take the individual’s income into consideration.
But working at CHS isn’t the only way Hulmes likes to give back to her community. Hulmes is also a member of St. Anthony’s Parish in Rocky Point. She reads at mass and also teaches religion to children preparing for confirmation. While Hulmes said she tries to “sit back and have things come to [her],” she checks the parish’s bulletin to see where she can help her community. The bulletin has led her to unique experiences like Clown Ministry, where church members or those who work at nursing homes or day care centers dress up like clowns and visit different parts of the community. Hulmes said dressing up can help people who struggle to communicate. The costume may help them relax and be more comfortable.
“We have different layers of relationships in life … but I think once we figure out how to go beyond that and love the community, to love the people we work with, to love the people we don’t know or haven’t met yet, I think that’s when … we can truly grow and evolve and make a difference in the world, and I think that’s what’s most important to me,” Hulmes said.
Hulmes’ attitude has made a difference in the lives of some of her co-workers as well, as she reminds her co-workers to enjoy themselves and that they can count on her if they need anything.
“She helps us remember that we’re all human and that we all need to laugh and we have more important reasons for being here,” Lim said.