A great attitude, agility and critical thinking: The qualities 8 healthcare leaders look for in an ideal revenue cycle team member

Hiring qualified revenue cycle staff is becoming even more important for hospitals and health systems amid challenges associated with payer reimbursement and increased patient financial responsibility.

For a closer look into their hiring process, Becker's Hospital Review asked revenue cycle leaders to share the qualities their organizations look for in an ideal team member. Read their responses below, presented alphabetically.

Editor's note: The following responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Gerard Brogan Jr., MD
Senior vice president and chief revenue officer at Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.)

The revenue cycle is a very complex function and has many different types of staff members doing functions that vary from very simple, repetitive tasks, generally, in what are considered entry-level positions, to levels where leadership is probably the most important quality with maybe the ability to educate as a close second.

If I was to think overall in revenue cycle what would be the key attributes to a successful team member, I think one would be the ability to work in an environment that is changing rapidly as well as the ability to interact with automation/artificial intelligence, which will be more commonplace and necessary to the efficiency in operating a revenue cycle.  

As we're in a period of change and challenge, the ability of staff members to lead those they are responsible for and to understand how to effectively educate and hold them accountable will be more important than ever.  

Another key strength of an employee would be their ability to become very facile in a number of interfacing IT systems that often require upgrades, interface enhancement and the ability to quickly get up to speed with the full functionality of each system.

Charles Brown
Senior vice president revenue management at Tower Health (West Reading, Pa.)

The most important attribute that I look for when hiring team members is attitude. I look for someone eager to contribute to the team and add value. I'm more interested in hiring someone with good foundational knowledge and helping them to grow and learn as long as they have a great attitude. Organizational fit and chemistry are key. That can easily be achieved if the candidate has the right attitude and wants to contribute to team success.

Jana Danielson
Executive director of revenue cycle at Nebraska Medicine (Omaha)

In general, we're looking for someone who can demonstrate our values and [is] a good fit for our culture. So, someone who's a team player, analytical, a problem-solver, and someone who is excellent from a customer service perspective. And that's going to span patient access, health information management, patient financial services. There are many folks who are patient-facing and others who aren't. [Nebraska Medicine also looks for] the ability to grow and change and adapt as things continue to shift and move.  

Coy Ingram
Vice president for revenue management at AdventHealth Central Florida Division–South Region (Orlando)

Our ideal candidate is an inspiring and highly qualified, master's-level individual who has a wealth of revenue cycle experience in the ever-changing matrix of healthcare. A passionate leader who takes appropriate risks and properly evaluates the outcomes to ensure they align with set expectations. A talented leader who takes time to grow their team and ensure they live the core values of our standards of leadership. A good listener and a better communicator as a strategic planner who stays the course in order to drive the best outcomes.

Amy Keding
Vice president of HR talent acquisition at Allina Health (Minneapolis)

When I look for an ideal team member for Allina Health, there are two core areas to focus on which are mindset and capabilities, both consistent with high-performing and highly engaged organizations. 

Mindset is central to individuals knowing who they are, why they want to work for Allina Health and the connection to our culture of caring and service. For example, it is important to hire candidates that are resilient, confident, curious and value diverse perspectives while willing to be helpful to others. Hiring the right capabilities is equally important to the success of an individual.

We are looking for people that understand the big picture, inspire their colleagues, foster an environment that supports learning and growth and focus on delivering excellence and succeeding together.

Bret Kelsey
Vice president of revenue management at Centura Health (Centennial, Colo.)

When hiring, Centura looks for someone who has initiative, personal drive and the desire to learn and grow. Organizations can teach the technical aspects of the job. However, the greater opportunity is to hire a person with the right attitude. Some additional attributes that I look for include the ability to think outside the box at "system level," the ability to motivate others and a person who tends to be more proactive vs. reactive.

Mary Beth Remorenko
Vice president of revenue cycle operations at Partners HealthCare (Boston)

I look for critical thinking skills, particularly for revenue cycle employees of the future. As we're continuing to automate a lot of the repetitive, redundant work, a lot of the remaining work does require those critical thinking abilities and problem-solving skills.

Tina R. Strawn, RN
Administrative director of operations for patient financial services at Harris Health System (Houston)

My leadership team and I have panel interviews so that everyone has a stake in the chosen candidate's success. Through these extensive interviews, it is clear to the teams and the candidates that we invest much of our time and energy into selecting the best candidate. We share important information about the responsibilities of the position, expected outcomes in order to both meet and exceed expectations, possible challenges and recommendations for overcoming them, and relevant information about the department and its members.

 During the discussions, we look for someone who:

  • is engaged in both action and word,
  • shows a passion or excitement for the position and our patients,
  • has a strong work ethic,
  • can research and problem-solve issues,
  • is able to work with people internally and externally in a collaborative manner,
  • understands the importance of escalating issues in a timely manner, and
  • has a temperament conducive to a fast-paced and ever-changing work environment.

 

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