Spotlight on: Emilia Webster, CPMSM, CPCS

Spotlight on: Emilia Webster, CPMSM, CPCS

Oct 22, 2019
  • Author:
    Renee Dengler, RN, MS, CPMSM, CPCS, FMSP
    Before she joined VerityStream Client Success and Consulting Services, Renee was director of medical and professional affairs for Advocate Health Care. In previous positions, Renee was responsible for medical staff office management, risk management, quality management, continuing medical education, graduate medical education and utilization review. Recently, Renee was one of the first sixteen people to receive the NAMSS Fellow designation which is the pinnacle of achievement and acknowledgment for the Medical Services Professional (MSP).

Current Position: Director, Provider Relations, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Michigan

Remember the Print Shop? Many of you may not, but many of us do. Long before the internet and electronic communication, that was the only means to mass produce communication to employees. And, that’s where Emilia started her health care career while going to school. She would see all types of information from Administration long before it would be distributed to employees and she recognized the importance of keeping that information confidential.

Maybe because they felt she could be trusted with confidential information, Administration asked Emilia to cover for the medical staff secretary while she went on a 2-week honeymoon. She was told she would need to do some typing and work with the medical director, Dr. A. What they didn’t tell her was that this physician was on his fifth secretary in two years. Dr. A was a 6’6” anesthesiologist, attorney, retired army colonel and had been a prison warden. He didn’t speak to anyone, he “barked.” After two weeks, Emilia had had enough. She told him what she thought of his “style,” and was sure she would never work in a medical staff office again.

After leaving the Print Shop a year later, she drifted in and out of various positions within healthcare, but every year received calls from the community hospital about having lost another medical staff secretary and the fact that Dr. A. wanted her to come back to work for him. Four years later, she was working in the professional building next door to the hospital when Dr. A. showed up at the door. Long story short, she said “yes” and says she also made one of the best decisions of her life when she went to work with Dr. A. for the next 13 years until he retired.

Upon leaving the community hospital, Emilia started to work at a psychiatric hospital as the Director of Accreditation/Medical affairs. Her quest for always wanting to learn more, led her to a position at a health plan as the Credentialing Manager three months before their NCQA survey. She knew nothing about NCQA, so it was a baptism by fire.

With several years of behavioral health and managed care credentialing experience, she set her sights on CVOs and went to work at a failing health system CVO. There, as Corporate Director of the CVO for sixteen years, she found her passion for redesigning and leading change.

Then the call came from Henry Ford Health System to redesign their CVO which included Provider Enrollment. She has been there for six years and is enjoying every moment of another new learning experience.

What do you like best about your current position?

I enjoy innovating and creating new synergies. (Emilia recently automated the request for the application process and eliminated paper and faxing.)

Why do you think you have been successful in this profession?

Because I never let my job description define my roles and capabilities.

What is your greatest achievement in your present position?

Learning about provider enrollment and reducing claims denials from $15 M to $3 M in two years.

What is your biggest challenge?

Creating solutions to automate the provider enrollment process.

What advice would you have for others in this profession?

Be fearless and a continuous learner.

Name a skill that you have taught yourself.

Scrapbooking. I started scrapbooking 15 years ago after a trip to Disney World. Those fun pictures were NOT going into a Rubbermaid bin! I started out with stickers and paper and now use all types of mixed media. Fun, fun, fun.

If you could choose any job in the world, regardless of what it would pay, what would you be doing (other than medical staff services/health care)?

Oh, this is tough. I can think of ten things I want to be when I grow up. I guess I would like to be the world’s leading authority on Renaissance Art and restoration. I would have my own private studio in Positano, Italy where I and my apprentices would restore paintings to their original state.

What is your all-time favorite movie? Why?

Ben Hur, the 1959 film. Great story, and I am fascinated by how the cameramen shot the chariot race with the type of technology they had at that time.

Appetizer or dessert – which is better? What’s your favorite?

Dessert, nothing like the sweet, creamy filling of a cannoli!

What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?

My mom dressed me up as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.

When was the last time you wore a Halloween costume?

My children and I enjoy Halloween together so everyone can see our little ones. Three years ago my kids forgot to tell me that the adults were dressing up as well. When everyone arrived at my home and I had no costume, I ran upstairs and pulled a white sheet out of the linen closet, cut out holes for my eyes and came down the stairs as a ghost. Our little ones never knew the difference.