South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday July 7, 2020

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January 2020 - Volume 16 - Issue 7


Dr. Yamile Marrero Brings Vast Experience to Her Work

Dr. Yamile Marrero has wide and diverse experience, and she utilizes all of it in her position as clinical assistant professor at the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Health Services Administration, at Florida International University. That experience encompasses public health, a legal background, and serving as a firefighter paramedic.

Dr. Marrero began her work in public health back in 2000, and with her juris doctorate, professors in the public health profession often asked her to lecture about the health care laws in the United States. She advised those asking her to lecture on the U.S. health care laws that "I'd love to do that but we don't have a unified system of health care laws. We're reactionary by nature, so we have to see the pieces here and the pieces there and put them together, and then address the issues that are relevant."
She said that is why part of her teaching is an effort to update students on what constantly changing legal requirements health care administrators are facing, e.g., the kinds of insurance for provider reimbursement, insurance exchange markets, and other issues. "I also expose them to the federal, state, and local laws that concern health care, which include the ACA, ADEA, HIPAA – there are so many."
During her career, Dr. Marrero also wrote legislation for state and local governments, so she is quite familiar with the policy component. "I've been an active lawyer in Florida for 35 years representing local government for most of that time. I advise on the HIPAA, ADA, and health care compliance for all of the cities I represented, having obtained my Masters in public health and completed the coursework for a Ph.D. in public health."
Along with her other experience, Dr. Marrero serves as a firefighter paramedic. That came about when she was between positions and working as a research graduate assistant doing doctoral work. "The county had invitations to apply for the firefighter positions, and since I had negotiated on behalf of city administration for years, I realized it could complement everything else I do. So it was an easy decision, and I love helping people."
She also pointed out, "I actually see my former students working in emergency rooms, which is wonderful. Every patient has to be checked in through administration and many of our young (graduates) are the ones who get those positions." 
Dr. Marrero emphasized the importance of health care administrators recognizing how the laws intertwine with their positions as administrators. She said almost everything in health care is regulated by or subject to some laws at the federal, state, or local level, and there is an ongoing need for students to keep learning as things change. Dr. Marrero gives the example of an adult nursing facility in Hollywood that was closed down during the last hurricane because it didn't have appropriate administration as far as plans, including evacuation plans.
"These are the kinds of examples I give them to help understand that, even from an administrative standpoint, this is life and death.  Sometimes I think students believe administrators are not involved with patient care, but they are."
Dr. Marrero teaches a health care policy course as part of the global course curriculum, and considers it to be very important. "I have them focus on universal health care systems in other developed countries, but I also make them aware of the health care systems and provisions in developing countries."
But what Dr. Marrero considers to be most important is having students learn that they can make a difference, that one voice is all it takes to get something started. One of her projects in health policy is for students to write a letter either in support of or opposition to any proposed legislation. If they receive a reply, some acknowledge to her that they didn't know they could bring about change. "That means the world to me when they recognize that we can all make a difference for the betterment of health care of patients or our family."
In summary, Dr. Marrero described her work by saying, "I bring to this faculty the perspective of the lawyer because that's obviously been ingrained in me my entire adult life. But I enjoy the fact that I can look at it not only from the legal end or the public health end, but also from the provider end as a firefighter paramedic."

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