Patient access employees are alerted to any openings within the entire revenue cycle at Riverside Regional Health System in Newport News, VA. Managers actively encourage them to apply for higher-tier jobs that become available.

“We want to promote from within. We encourage career paths within our divisions,” says Robin Woodward, CHAM, system director of patient access. Each division that has openings sends a group email to members of the management team, who make their direct reports aware of upcoming postings.

“Several employees started in registration and now manage other revenue cycle departments,” says Woodward. One emergency department registrar moved to inpatient and ambulatory registration, then into a patient access analyst role. “That employee had a wealth of knowledge working with many hospital units and other departments for account reviews,” says Woodward. “The employee is now a supervisor.”

An entry-level patient access role gives employees a good foundation to move to other revenue cycle areas. “The understanding of systems, and how information starts with patient access and flows downstream, gives them an advantage,” Woodward explains.

Go outside of your area

If you work in a large patient access department, ask to cover different locations or different shifts, suggests April C. Robinson, MBA, MHA, former patient access manager at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, SC.

This request can be an opportunity for advancement. “Learn how other areas function,” says Robinson. For example, if your facility consists of multiple buildings and locations, such as a children’s hospital, heart hospital, or outpatient physician practices, request time to “job shadow” in these other locations.

“Work not only with the access services teams in these areas, but with the clinical staff as well,” advises Robinson. “Each location functions differently because they serve very different patient populations.”

The goal is to watch the patient flow and processes from start to finish. “Understand how everyone’s role impacts not only the revenue cycle, but the overall patient experience,” says Robinson.