Dana-Farber revenue cycle leader Melissa Shore's daily mantra: 'No money, no mission'

Melissa Shore serves as vice president of revenue performance management at Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

She has held the role since 2011, overseeing revenue cycle operations across the network.

Before joining Dana-Farber nearly 18 years ago, she was a manager in the healthcare practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers and worked for a municipal bond agency and a biotech company. 

Ms. Shore received her bachelor's degree in business from Atlanta-based Emory University and her master's degree in public administration, health finance at New York University in New York City.

Here, Ms. Shore shares her favorite part of her job, discusses the system's financial strategy and offers advice for other hospital revenue cycle leaders.

Note: The following responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What is your favorite part about being a revenue cycle leader of a healthcare system?

Melissa Shore: It's allowed me to combine interests that I have both in healthcare and in business.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you're facing as a revenue cycle leader? 

MS: The challenges operationalizing payer rules. An example of that is a patient is referred to Dana-Farber by their specialist, but we need to get permission from an insurance perspective. And that approval comes from their primary care physician, who isn't the one who referred them here and doesn't necessarily know that they are coming.

Q: What are your financial goals for the rest of 2019? 

MS: I have one on the revenue side and one on the cost side. We are continuing to try to minimize our revenue leakage through denial prevention. On the cost side, we're interested in automating whatever workflows we would be able to, so we don't have to continue adding resources as we continue to grow.

Q: What is one thing you'd do to improve the revenue cycle process?

MS: I think if we could leverage technology better, that would be extremely helpful. There are so many manual workflows, and many of them are routine. If we could carve out the routine tasks for a machine and let people focus on analyzing and problem-solving, I think we would be working smarter instead of just working harder.

Q: What is a daily mantra that informs your leadership decisions?

MS: I kind of think of it as, "No money, no mission." Dana-Farber provides incredible care to its patients. Getting reimbursed for that care helps us further the mission of easing the burden of cancer both for our patients and their families.

Q: If you could pass along a piece of advice to other hospital revenue cycle leaders, what would it be?

MS: The revenue cycle is really a team sport. Looking at the issues from a multidisciplinary view — which really means working with people outside of finance —  is critical to success. And this especially includes caregivers and patients.

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