DOA’s Front Desk Person Answers Questions, Directs Seniors to Needed Services

To her colleagues, Sue Ramsburg is a “compass” of the Frederick County Department of Aging (DOA).

Sitting at the front desk in DOA’s lobby at 1440 Taney Avenue in Frederick, she helps 30 to 35 daily callers get the information or services they need.  She directs them to the right department experts or answers their questions herself or provides some of the answers and then sends them to the experts for more information.

Ramsburg’s ability to answer questions on a wide range of subjects often helps to reduce the workload of the experts and department case workers, a fact that has won her praise from throughout DOA.  “She is super-helpful,” said Jessica Paguirigan, an AmeriCorps volunteer who has served the last year as a DOA Meals on Wheels coordinator.

Ramsburg said she tries “to give [callers and department visitors] as much information as possible. I’ve been here seven years and I sort of learn things as I go along.  I love this job.”  With a touch of self-deprecating humor, she added, “I always tell people I know a little bit about a lot.”

The calls she took while being interviewed showed she knows more than she admits.  The first caller had questions about how to supplement Medicare assistance.  Ramsburg, talking for five minutes, told the client about different agencies and organizations that might help and directed her to an upcoming DOA workshop.  She then provided information about Medicare’s prescription drug assistance to elderly patients to another caller.

Ramsburg routinely fields queries about Medicare, available housing for senior citizens, transportation for the elderly, Frederick Senior Center activities, including exercise classes, and caregivers.  It “really gets crazy” when it’s time to enroll seniors in Medicare Part D drug coverage and also during February, March and the first half of April when residents are getting ready to file tax returns, she said.

DOA, during tax season, offers clients the services of two tax form preparers, each of whom has five appointments a day five days a week.  “I do all of their scheduling,” said Ramsburg.

She also orders supplies, fixes the computer printer and stocks paper towels.  “I’m like the go-to person here,” she said.  “I think when you’ve been an administrative assistant for so many years, there are things you just know.”

Ramsburg is a veteran administrative assistant who, in addition to her seven years at DOA, worked a decade at Frederick Memorial Hospital in various departments and 1.5 years at St. Catherine’s Nursing Center, now known as St. Joseph’s Ministries.

She still works part-time at St. Joseph’s while working full-time at DOA.  She also takes a class a semester while working toward an associate’s degree in general education at Frederick Community College.  Monday through Friday, she sits at the front desk at DOA from 8:30 to 4 and works at St. Joseph’s every Wednesday and sometimes Friday from 4:30 to 8.  In addition, at St. Joseph’s, she works two out of every three weekends for six hours each day Saturday and Sunday.

“I don’t understand how she gets anything done for herself,” said Paguirigan.  Ramsburg’s  response is she is doing exactly what she wants to do.  The work is fulfilling.

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