For the public: Pam Beck, Grass Valley |

For the public: Pam Beck, Grass Valley

Where I live: Grass Valley – I was one of the first babies born in this hospital! I’ve lived here all my life.

Where I work: Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital

My job title: Financial Counselor and Customer Service

What I do in my job: I am here to work with patients and their families, to explain hospital billing, help them understand their insurance coverage, assist them in devising payment plans, and act as a go-between with their insurance companies.

Why my job is important to the public: Many people don’t have a thorough understanding of their health insurance plans, which are very complex. I work with insurance issues every day, and I know how to guide people through dealings with their insurance companies. It’s also part of my job to help people devise reasonable payment plans, and to explain what public programs may be available to help them, if they qualify.

The special skills and talents I bring to my job: Aside from understanding the complexities of hospital billing and insurance coverage, I think the most important things I bring to this job are understanding and caring. People need to be treated with compassion when they’ve just been sick or injured, and now have to cope with the expense of care and the complications of insurance plans.

The best part of my job: When people leave here feeling satisfied, and I know I helped them.

How I got my job: I started at the hospital as a part time file clerk in 1991 when my kids were in school. Eventually I became a switchboard operator. That job sort of merged with our admitting process. That led to my taking my current position about a year ago.

How long I’ve been working here: 14 years

My dream job would be: I would love to do community work, especially to help children. I see so many people in need.

My family: I have two daughters, Amanda, 27, Cynthia, 24, a son, Adam, 21, and my beautiful granddaughter, Emma Rose, who is 4 years old. And of course her father, Michael, who is married to Amanda. All my children were born and raised right here, just like me. My mother, Catherine Carman, lives here, too.

My hobbies: I love flower gardening, both indoor and outdoor. I like to hike, swim and read when I have time.

When I was a kid: Growing up in Grass Valley was such a treat. The houses were so far apart. I was a real tomboy. I’d ride motorcycles with my brothers, go target shooting, and go hunting with my dad – but it was really just to let the dogs run. When we went shooting, my brothers and I used to walk down the street carrying .22 rifles and a shotgun over our shoulders. Can you imagine what would happen if someone did that today?

My dream vacation: Something tropical and quiet. A very quiet island, where I could read and snorkel. No night life, no dressing up. Did I mention quiet?

The people who have made the biggest difference in my life: My children.

The best book I’ve read lately: Who has time to read?

I like living in Nevada County because: Actually, I’d love to explore the world and hope to do that someday, but this is where I was born and raised and where I raised my own children. My life is here. Wherever I might go, I’d always like to be able to come home.


“For the public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a local civil servant to be profiled, contact Britt Retherford at or call 477-4247.

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