Author: Vicki Searcy; Vice President, Consulting Services; VerityStream
I’m so pleased to introduce Heidi Thompson to our readers. Although we have both been in this profession and members of NAMSS for many years, it has only been in the last couple of years that I’ve had the opportunity to know Heidi professionally. As I’ve seen her achievements at St. Luke’s, I’ve been inspired by her dedication to medical staff services and to working with physicians. I agree with Heidi that if you find that you are drawn to this profession (as many of us have been), it becomes your life’s work. I personally can’t imagine a more fulfilling career choice. Heidi has over thirty-seven years' experience in the healthcare field as it relates to credentialing, privileging, accreditation compliance, and educating, training and managing MSPs. Her passion for healthcare is contagious!
Heidi Thompson, MBA, CPMSM, CPCS, FMSP
System Director of Medical Staff Services
St. Luke's Health System
Heidi has been in the field since 1984. She got her start as an Executive Assistant to the CEO at Mt. Carmel Medical Center in Kansas. Her role quickly grew to include managing Medical Staff Services. This was before there were lots of quality regulations in place. Heidi tells us that back then all she needed to collect were copies of a provider’s license, proof of malpractice insurance and the privilege forms. Then along came the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act and things really began to change! As the industry progressed, Heidi fell in love with it and working with physicians and other providers.
Heidi experienced a personal tragedy due to an incident with a provider that could have been prevented. From there, this work became her life’s mission. She feels viscerally connected to her role.
She has great empathy for the physicians she works with. She knows that they carry a heavy workload and tremendous responsibility. She also recognizes that physicians are human beings too and she loves working with them and helping them any way she can.
Heidi also enjoys being surrounded by a strong like-minded community of professionals. When she gathers with colleagues at events like NAMMS, she feels energized by their shared dedication.
There is always a lot to do, so she never gets bored. At St. Luke’s, Heidi has standardized bylaws, led the creation of system-level privileges, and helped the organization go completely electronic in just five years! She loves how the team at St. Luke’s shares her values and the fact that they are cross trained to support one another. Whenever one area of the business is short staffed, someone jumps in to get the job done.
Throughout her career, Heidi has witnessed several physician suicides. This has been extremely hard on her as she finds herself wondering if there was anything she could have done to prevent these deaths. She’s committed to improving physician wellness and supporting her physicians. She feels blessed to be working with incredible medical staff leaders at St Luke’s who really care.
The profession is changing and accelerating and the volume and the scope of work is expanding. In a single day, an MSP could be doing PSV, credentialing, privileging, enrollment, taking meeting notes, conducting orientations, and/or supporting a provider with substance abuse. There’s often not enough time to get the work done.
Being a part of developing incredible people. Throughout her career, Heidi has worked in several states and facilities, both large and small. It’s been very gratifying to see highly competent individuals develop into leaders. She truly enjoys mentoring and contributing to the success of others.
This profession is hard. It may be the hardest thing you ever do. But if you have the personality for it and you value its importance, it is likely to become your life’s work and is very gratifying.
A farmer! She loves to grow things, especially tomatoes, peppers, and kale! She’s even growing kale right now in freezing temperatures.
Anything Star Wars. The first movie is her favorite.
Hit the beach in Hawaii. She had a trip planned in 2020, but it’s on hold for now. She’ll be taking that trip as soon as its safe.