Revenue Cycle Management: New Leaders Need a Broad Skillset

By David Boggs

David Boggs

David Boggs

The evolving role of the revenue cycle management leader—from billing and collections to a much broader, more strategic view of the revenue cycle—has necessitated a shift in position title. Traditionally carrying a director-level title, these positions are moving to the Vice President level in an effort to recruit RCM leaders better positioned to positively influence the organization’s overall financial and market success.

Though I still see traditional director-level titles, such as Director of RCM, the trend is for RCM leaders to operate at the VP level with titles such as Vice President of Revenue Cycle or even Chief Revenue Officer. Success at this level requires three essential skills, which I had the opportunity to discuss with writer Kelly Gooch of Becker’s Hospital Review for her article “3 Essential Skills Hospitals Need in RCM Leadership”.

  1. Broad view of the revenue cycle. Though getting the bill out and collecting it are critical, the role requires a broad and strategic view of the big picture including the connection of billing and collection to other parts of the system including patient registration, accuracy of patient coding, and insurance/managed care contracts.
  1. Strategic understanding of technology use. Today’s RCM leader must understand how the organization admits and codes patients and how this process can be streamlined and optimized through the strategic application of integrated EHR systems.
  1. Ability to communicate and work with other leaders and staff. RCM executives need to work with leaders across the organization to make sure they understand revenue cycle processes that are in place, are using the organization’s software and IT systems appropriately, are determining the appropriateness of admissions and denials, and are providing input about how billing, collecting and related activities can be improved.

Because of the industry-specific nature of the role, it isn’t likely that RCM leaders can typically be recruited outside of healthcare.  Recruiting RCM executives will remain very competitive, as organizations seek leaders with the mix of financial skills, healthcare industry knowledge, information technology savvy, and the people skills required to fill this strategic leadership role.


About the Author

David Boggs is practice leader of WK Advisors – a division of Witt/Kieffer offering innovative executive search consulting services. WK Advisors provides a high quality solution to recruiting administrative and clinical department directors, assistant vice presidents, vice presidents, and more. As practice leader, David identifies management team leaders on behalf of hospitals, healthcare systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and managed care companies. He is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

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