The following is a profile of just one of the thousands of revenue cycle leaders at healthcare providers across the U.S. I'd like to thank Kim Roberts for generously offering her time to provide her insights. If you are a revenue cycle professional at a healthcare organization and would like to participate in a profile like this, please contact me. I would love to hear from you.
What's your name, organization & position?
Kim Roberts, Vice President of Revenue Cycle, Abington-Jefferson Health and Aria-Jefferson Health
How long have you worked there?
How long have you worked in the revenue cycle field?
How did you land in the world of revenue cycle?
I initially started out as a coder, doing concurrent coding on the nursing stations while going to school in the mid-70s. My first full-time job was as a Medical Records Supervisor in a community hospital and then I was promoted to Medical Records Director within the year. In 1984, as DRGs became effective as a method of reimbursement and coding took on a financial aspect, I moved into the world of finance. I ultimately became responsible for Patient Registration and hospital billing and receivables, along with medical records. Through the years, as the names have changed to Patient Access, Health Information Management and Patient Accounting, I have worked for both non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as single entities and national corporate organizations. Over time, I have also taken on responsibility for physician network, home care and hospice billing and receivables.
What does your typical day at work look like?
I’m in many meetings, part of many discussions and part of planning around ways to optimize revenue, further integrate operations and staff, and gain more efficiencies while trying to minimize expense and salary costs. All of this is in light of decreasing reimbursements and changing payer rules, and while also aiming towards best practices and best-in-class KPIs. The days can often be challenging, but at the same time, very invigorating.
Can you think of something great you've learned about this business you'd really like to pass along?
It’s all about the supporting team and helping and sharing knowledge and experience and giving credit where it is due. I’ve always operated under the philosophy that if I am on vacation or out of the office, all functions should operate as normal. Be proactive, not reactive. I also have a sign right by my office door, as I exit, that says “Unless It’s Fatal, It’s No Big Deal.” I try to keep focused and look at the bigger picture.
If you weren't in your current career, what else would you most love to do for work?
I love to garden and grow flowers that I then arrange into bouquets that I give to others. So, I guess I might love to be a florist!
What do you think needs to change most urgently in the revenue cycle field?
There needs to be recognition that the clinical staff are a critical aspect of revenue cycle and it is just as important that the doctors, nurses, service line administrators and ancillary staff all understand their role and impact on the organization’s revenue and financial viability.
At the same time, if I had my wish, it would be that the payers/insurers all follow the same rules, adopt the same electronic transaction processes and values, and allow the clinicians to drive patient care based upon clinical presentation and not hindsight or retro determinations.