Spotlight on:  Tameka S. O’Neal

Spotlight on: Tameka S. O’Neal

Aug 28, 2020
  • 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).

Tameka O'NealTameka S. O’Neal, CPMSM, CBCS

Senior Director, Credentialing and Medical Staff Operations
Novant Health
Charlotte, NC

A bit about Tameka’s career…

Many paths lead to the “medical staff services profession” and Tameka’s journey began with patient accounts, coding, and collections. Every new position provided opportunities to increase her knowledge and responsibilities. She gained new skills in human resources, scheduling, and was introduced to medical staff services. As a native and life-long resident of eastern North Carolina, Tameka took a leap of faith and moved across the state to Charlotte NC to work at Novant Health in 2017. While adjusting to Charlotte traffic, Tameka assumed a new position in 2019 as Senior Director Credentialing and Medical Staff Operations. And, no, that’s not a typo – CBCS stands for Certified Billing and Coding Specialist!

What do you like best about your current position?

The relationships that I have established since working at Novant Health are my biggest “likes”. It’s important to have partnerships if you plan to advance a team. You can’t do it alone.

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

Humility. I take nothing for granted. Coming from a poor, black community I’ve learned to be a good steward of things received. This may be just a job to some but for me, I cherish the means to be able to provide for my family and I’m thankful for Novant giving me the opportunity to exercise my gifts and talents.

What is your greatest achievement in your present position?

The formation of one big team and rebranding the department. Previously, we were a CVO and many MSO teams. I knew that we had to work together, and a unified structure was necessary to avoid issues with our onboarding process. After I received approval to have all teams report to me, I decided that for us to come together we needed a new identity. The new name is CMSO – Credentialing and Medical Staff Operations.

What is your biggest challenge?

Personally - I struggle to find time for myself and my needs. I lead at work and home so the work/life balance that I preach to my teams are hard to manage myself. I have a large family and I’m “it” for them. I am also in grad school, so I wear many hats.

What do you wish someone had told you about this profession before you got into it?

I wish I had known about the politics/power struggles/undermining beforehand. Why can’t we be who we are and not wear a mask just to accommodate the audience? I’m Tameka in every dimension.

Working remotely or in the office – which is better?

Both – by choice. The central office team is totally remote because we are paperless. The MSPs at the facilities are mainly onsite but working remotely on Fridays.  I choose to go to the office two days per week just to get away from my family (kidding…not kidding).

What would we not know about you just by reading your resume?

That I’m a grandma…well I’m a “MeMe.” I have 3, soon to be 4, grandsons; and I enjoy every second with them.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

Way before the age of 10 I had a plan to become the next Oprah. The plan included getting an education in broadcast journalism, getting a job at the local news station, then gaining national attention and working for the Today show or something. Finally, someone would offer me my own talk show because Oprah had to get old one day and I’d take over. I enjoy communicating and swapping real life stories. I think that hard life experiences make us a resource for others.

What is your spirit animal?

Lioness - Lionesses are hunters. Each lioness has a role to play within the pride. Lionesses are known for their strategy and creating opportunities where they might not appear to be any. There is also a definite social hierarchy which denotes the leadership of the pride. The lionesses within a pride are pivotal to the prosperity, growth, and survival of the tribe. As they hunt primarily during the evening or at night, they represent the connection to the divine feminine lunar energy of the moon.

Best season – winter, spring, summer, fall?

Late fall when it’s not as hot and not quite cold yet. I love to see the leaves change and just take a road trip to enjoy the fall foliage.

What’s your favorite cartoon character?

Jem from Jem and the Holograms. It only aired for a couple of years in the 80s, but I had a hidden desire to be her.

If you were shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, but all your human needs – such as shelter, food, and water – were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

A notebook to journal with hopes that someone would find it one day. Photos, so memories with my family never go away. Of course, that’s only if there’s no cellphone tower because if so, please give me a cellphone!

If someone were making a movie of your life, who would you want to play you?

My first pick is my daughter – Aaliyah. She knows me best and can even imitate my facial expressions and voice.

Growing up, people often compared me to Vanessa from The Cosby Show, so Tempest Bledsoe would be my celebrity pick.