Change Management Key to Vice President Role for Access Leaders

Posted By: Elizabeth Woodcock Industry,

by Elizabeth Woodcock, DrPH, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, Executive Director, Patient Access Collaborative

In our previous blog post, we elaborated on the growth of the designated role of vice president for access. This distinction is already present at more than a quarter of our health systems – and growing rapidly. Our experienced leaders, currently in the role, weigh in on the importance of the burgeoning senior leadership position.

“When you need to work cross-departmentally to hardwire change, having a vice president at the table to keep the vision of patient-centered decision making is imperative… the stakes for making mistakes and delays in care can negatively impact lives,” espouses Kara Gormont, the inaugural VP of Access for Hawaii-based Queens Health System. She continues, “we all know that change is driven by strategy, but ‘culture eats strategy for lunch.’ If we want to make sure that access to care is not thwarted by culture, we must make sure there is leadership at the table empowered to push the organization to move the culture towards an access-focused/patient-focused lens.” The VP of Access for Northwell Health, Holly Koehler leverages her expertise in best practices of access workflows and outcomes, serving as a self-described “consultant” to the clinical and administrative department, specialty, and service line leaders. Her role, she explains, is to spearhead a “unified health system approach to supporting [Northwell Health’s] access mission.”  

Patrick Kokoruda, MHA, CCSL, Vice President of Clinical Access Management & Contact Center for Geisinger elaborates: “In order to positively affect access and improve experience…you need to show the importance of access to the organization not only in title but in reporting structure.  The VP of Access should be pulling it all together, strategizing on system-wide initiatives that can increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve the patient and provider experience.”

From a personal and professional lens, the role offers a newfound career ladder in patient access. At the Patient Access Collaborative, we’ll continue to support incredible leaders like Kara, Holly, and Patrick – and perhaps, in the near future, you.