'Talent management must be pursued daily': Houston Methodist VP of revenue cycle operations on the challenges and successes she's seeing now

Like many Houstonians, Houston Methodist Vice President of Revenue Cycle Operations Lisa Schillaci began her career in the oil and gas industry, but when the opportunity came up to work in the healthcare industry, she jumped at the opportunity. 

"I was seeking a profession that made a lasting impact on people, a profession based on values and hope," Ms. Schillaci told Becker's. "And here I am 33 years later at the same institution. As I've grown in my career, our mission, vision and values continue to keep me committed to both healthcare and to Houston Methodist."

Ms. Schillaci has been Houston Methodist's vice president of revenue cycle since 2015. She discussed with Becker's the challenges and success she's seeing now. 

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What is the No. 1 challenge you're facing as a revenue cycle leader right now?  

Lisa Schillaci: Hiring, retaining and developing talent. We must be deliberate in encouraging our employees to contribute and grow in ways that are most meaningful to them. Talent management must be pursued daily, with focus on meeting our employees' needs of connectedness, flexibility and their overall well-being.     

Q: What is a recently completed project or goal that you're proud of?  

LS: We just completed an automated authorization pilot for certain radiology authorizations.  The pilot was successful and the results continue to improve. The project has gained excitement and momentum to rapidly deploy across the enterprise. The outcome of this project will reduce manual work for our staff and increase patient satisfaction by having procedures secured more timely.

Q: What is a goal or project you're hoping to complete by the end of this year?  

LS: Two projects are slated to be completed this year. One, a complete succession plan document for management positions. This document will assist those that want to advance by listing the technical and behavioral competencies for each management role. By understanding the requirements, those that desire to advance can identify gaps and acquire resources to gain additional skills. It takes the guesswork out of advancement. 

And two, we are implementing a new clearinghouse for the enterprise. Our desired outcomes will include more efficient processes for our staff and improvements in the patient experience.  While both of these projects require a high commitment of additional work, there is genuine eagerness and passion in these two endeavors.

Q:What makes an effective revenue cycle leader?  

LS: An effective leader will create a culture of innovation and free-thinkers. That starts with how management receives ideas. Being closest to the work, our staff is a treasure of information. And they will be the first to know when something needs to be changed. A good leader will listen and be fully present when those ideas are shared. A great leader will be vulnerable and ask to learn more. An effective leader will honor the staff by sharing why ideas are a "no" or a "no for now" without clobbering the culture. 

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