From working in a hospital and doctor’s offices, to performing audits for the State of Illinois, to managing worker’s compensation case for private companies, Susan Zappa’s career is proof that a nursing degree offers a wide range of possibilities. Susan’s different experiences came as she sought new challenges and ways to adapt to her family’s needs. She remembers asking a few years ago, “What led me to do all of this?”
The answer came in 2008 when she finally decided the time was right to purchase America Ambulance Services. “Everything that I’ve done in the past has led me to a great position to run the company,” Susan explains. Once she began managing America Ambulance, Susan saw her experiences, from medical care, to billing, to worker’s compensation “all coming together” to lead a successful company.
Terry Kirk invited Susan to consider purchasing America Ambulance when he and his wife decided to retire. They wanted an individual with a strong medical background to buy their company, and they turned to Susan. The timing wasn’t right when they initially spoke to Susan because of her demanding work and family commitments, so she declined.
When the Kirks approached Susan a second time, she decided to research the opportunity further. With her three children growing and in school, it felt like a good time to make a career change. Susan decided to purchase America Ambulance Services in 2008, thinking of it as, “A new adventure and a new chapter in my life.”
Today, Susan is the sole owner of America Ambulance Services, managing the daily operations of the company, as well as close to 60 employees. America Ambulance has been serving Morgan and Sangamon Counties for over 46 years now, and Susan is proud to continue a tradition of professionalism and quality care.
Susan is committed to “putting out the best professional group [of EMTs] that we can possibly have,” continually focusing on professionalism, compassion, and expertise. Receiving emergency medical care and riding in an ambulance can be a frightening and uncertain experience, Susan says. An EMT who is well trained in both customer service and medical care can change those feelings to confidence and comfort.
Susan is regularly amazed by her emergency medical teams. She explains, “As a nurse, I did not understand the role of EMTs. They have a great big responsibility to save our lives, and they are professionals in what they do.”
Working in a hospital setting with specialized medical teams, Susan says, “I never did half of the things these guys do every day.” If someone begins to code in the hospital, Susan explains, a code team is called in. There is no code team in the field – the EMTS are the team.
As an owner of an emergency medical care service, Susan has made it a priority to participate in state and national associations. She attended all of the association meetings to better understand the interests of the professional community, including concerns about abuse of the 911 system and changes in insurance laws.
Susan’s experience auditing Medicare providers, as well as her knowledge of workers compensation laws, gives her some unique insights into the inner workings of the healthcare system and provider requirements. She utilizes this knowledge to benefit her company and ensure that she is meeting her daily goal to “make sure that all of my employees have a paycheck and the best health care, and that we provide the best quality care to our clients.”