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Employee Spotlight - Charles Townsend

 

3.09.2020 By Availity

 
Charles Townsend

When Charles Townsend started working in the Availity call center back in 2011, he had zero knowledge of the healthcare industry outside of his own visits to the emergency room. With a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida, he never imagined that he would become one of the developers behind the nation’s largest health information networks.

Charles began his career as an events coordinator for the PGA, and then NASCAR – where one of his main events was the Pepsi 400. After moving to Jacksonville from Daytona, he worked for ATT for three years before starting with Availity Client Services (ACS).

Charles credits his time in ACS for building a foundation for a career in the healthcare industry. He suggests other employees take the time to sit in the call center to understand the customer’s experience. Often, Charles would be learning the Portal – which was then a webpage that included basic functionality to check claim status and read remits – right alongside the doctor or the receptionist.

After 10 months in client services, Charles was promoted to a team lead and helped open the RCM call center in Indianapolis by training new call center associates. Eventually, he applied for a position as a Quality Analyst. The timing wasn’t right, and he took an Operations Analyst role instead, where he dealt with more complex issues over the phone with providers. After a year in that role, Charles was offered a Quality Analyst position to help support eight different developer teams within the company. At one point, he was the only one in the Jacksonville office supporting a team in Dallas, so a lot of his work was self-taught.

Charles took a QA2 position on the Provider Data Management (PDM) team, which supports an app on the Portal responsible for accurately storing and sharing provider data such as hospital affiliations, credentials, and demographic information with health plans.

When Availity created a new role for Developer of Automation, Charles put off applying because of how much he enjoyed working on his current team. When he mentioned his interest to his manager, they offered him a developer position on the team.

In his current role, Charles is developing automation code required to run on the Availity microservices platform before an application is added. Charles described it in the following way:

Availity is run on a platform comprised of several microservices (think little engines that make up a large service). Before applications, such as PDM, are put onto the platform, a JavaScript automation code must be implemented to test the service.

 

Charles’ team was the first to put out the automation code on the new microservices platform, ARIES 2. His code supports an API for hospital affiliations and privileges on the PDM workflow.

 

His main advice for new employees is to use the resources available, and not just the materials but the people. He says he is grateful for mentors throughout the organization who helped expand his knowledge and provide opportunities for him to grow within the company. Chris Carey and Michael Bauer took time out of their day to provide practice situations for Charles to learn, and Ramya Hallimysore and Jyothi Bomminen trained him on Cucumber JS, which is the framework for writing JavaScript for automated tests on our microservice.

 

“I’ve had six jobs here and I’ve never felt the need to look for a new job or promotion outside of Availity.”

 

He says he gets to come to work, he doesn’t have to, and is encouraged to learn more behind the scenes work as he builds relationships with his counterparts at payer organizations. Charles notes that at times, it can be a high-pressure job, but points out that all of our services work together to create the health information network, and we are only as strong as the other applications.

 

In his spare time, Charles enjoys spending time with his wife, 2-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son, and appreciates the flexibility to work from home in order to maintain his family structure.

 

Favorite book: Hero of the Underground: A Memoir by Jason Peter

 

Favorite food: Ribeye steak on the grill

 

Favorite movie: Can’t pick just one

 
 
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