In our new monthly employee spotlight, we will be highlighting various staff members in different departments to express our gratitude for their hard work and contributions to our team! It truly takes a village. In July ’23 and our flagship edition, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Antoinette Ghoston, the brilliant and compassionate Front Office Supervisor at Axes Physical Therapy’s Hazelwood clinic, located in Village Square Shopping Center just off N-270 and Lindbergh. Antoinette runs the show at our front desk and will likely be the very first person you interact with as your start care with Axes in Hazelwood. We sat down with Antoinette to learn more about her journey, her role, and her enthusiastic dedication to providing exceptional care to our patients.
Q: Give us the scoop, the tea, the deets… who is Antoinette Ghoston?
A: Oooh, my goodness. Well, I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Louis University in 2012, and ever since then, I have been working in healthcare. My background has mostly been in therapy, but from the mental and behavioral health side of the world. Transitioning into the physical health and wellness side was a smooth move for me.
Outside of work, I’m a family girl through and through. We are a close-knit bunch, and I genuinely enjoy spending time with the people I love. Let me tell you, being around my family is always a blast! We’re quite a diverse group. Mom’s the jokester, Dad’s the businessman, my brother is a singer, the youngest one is a jock/athlete, and me? Well, I’m the free spirit. I find solace in meditation, running, and exploring new things. My life motto is the 5 by 5 rule: “If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it.”
Q: Can you briefly describe the FOS role at Axes and the key responsibilities you handle?
A: Absolutely! My role as the Front Office Supervisor ripples into all other departments. I take charge of patient phone interactions, manage our schedule, provide consultation on patient referrals and workers’ compensation cases, handle insurance-related paperwork and authorizations, and essentially, I keep our therapists on track. There’s a lot to it, but I enjoy the challenge!
Q: How do you ensure that the front office operations run smoothly and efficiently to provide a positive experience for both patients and staff?
A: I would say that diligent communication is the key. It’s crucial to touch base with everyone involved, be it patients, employees, or clients. We believe in open lines of communication, and that’s what allows for a seamless process. Without it, there can be a sense of imbalance, like a rocking ship. We want to avoid putting out fires and ensure a smooth experience for everyone involved.
Q: What projects or initiatives have you been involved in recently?
A: Lately, I’ve been heavily involved in managing our workers’ compensation cases and improving the intake-to-treatment process. I ensure that all relevant parties are notified, patients and their families understand the process ahead, and that they know I’m always there as a resource. Whether it’s administrative support, emotional assistance, or simply providing reassurance, I want everyone to feel supported. Let me share a recent example—a workers’ comp patient was afraid to come in for physical therapy. Completely normal fear, right? However, her doctor specifically mentioned me to her, so when she arrived, she already felt like she had a friend at physical therapy. I greeted her by name, gave her a tour, and diffused her anxiety even before her care began.
Q: How did your work on these projects contribute to the overall success of the team or the company?
A: Honestly, if my job isn’t done right on the front end, the rest of the care process can’t happen smoothly. The patients’ therapists won’t have the necessary orders, doctors won’t receive the notes they need, and patients won’t feel the sense of certainty and understanding that we’re all here to help them. Ultimately, people want help from providers they trust. I believe that the bulk of my job is ensuring that every person involved in the process has what they need to fulfill their commitments to rehabilitation and follow-through.
Q: What’s the atmosphere like at the Hazelwood facility?
A: Oh, man, it’s a lively and fun place! We are a team, a close-knit community. There’s a sense of compassion, encouragement, and genuine support for each other. We know when to wear our serious hats, but we firmly believe that work and therapy can be enjoyable. Celebrating progress and the journey towards improvement is something we all rejoice in. Also… have you seen Brett’s dances on our Axes Tiktok and Instagram? We have a good time, and our patients love the good energy!
Q: How do you handle scheduling appointments and managing the clinic’s calendar to maximize patient flow and minimize wait times?
A: Axes is committed to continuity of care. When scheduling patients with their physical therapists, I prioritize explaining our clinic’s hours and policies. We never schedule several patients with one therapist simultaneously. Putting the patients’ needs first is our priority. If they request a specific time, we make it a point to accommodate their preferred or necessary time of day. It’s built into our business model. Additionally, by considering each therapist’s schedule and matching them with patients they feel most comfortable with, we enhance patient satisfaction and flow. For instance, some female patients prefer working with female physical therapists, but they may not voice that preference. So, I always ask. By double and triple-checking schedules and ensuring alignment, we strive to maximize patient satisfaction.
Q: How do you handle stressful or high-pressure situations in a fast-paced clinic environment, such as managing multiple tasks simultaneously or dealing with urgent patient needs?
A: I won’t sugarcoat it—navigating all the factors that touch my job can be stressful. But my personal philosophy is to maintain a level head and a cool demeanor. I remind myself that it’s not about me right now; it’s about the patients, their experience, and their questions, concerns, and fears. That’s what we need to focus on. By keeping my attention on our patients and clients, I know I’ll be successful.
Q: Can you describe any initiatives or changes you have implemented to improve the front office processes and enhance the overall patient experience?
A: Let’s talk about workers’ compensation again. With these cases, different parties have their preferences—adjusters, employers, doctors—and sometimes, litigation is involved. I played a significant role in implementing a process to understand everyone’s desired outcomes and protocols. Although we all have the same goal and are on the same team, we hold different positions. It’s crucial to have a “captain” or an orchestrator who is aware of the needs of each stakeholder. I strive to dot my I’s and cross my T’s every day, ensuring that every person involved in the process communicates effectively and has accurate information when and how they need it.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your work in running the front office of a physical therapy clinic, and what motivates you to excel in this role?
A: Patient interaction is, by far, my favorite part of the job. We truly get to know these individuals—they become our friends. I find myself deeply invested in their journey and sincerely rooting for their healing process. This energy, this vibe, is contagious. When patients feel supported and know they have a trusted team in their corner, they truly thrive. Witnessing their progress is incredibly rewarding, and it motivates me to excel in this role.
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Antoinette Ghoston for her exceptional work as a Front Office Supervisor at Axes Physical Therapy’s Hazelwood clinic. Her dedication to ensuring smooth operations and providing the highest level of care for our patients is truly commendable. We would also like to express our gratitude to all of our front office supervisors across our facilities for their unwavering commitment to keeping our clinics running smoothly. Thank you for being the backbone of Axes Physical Therapy’s success.