Vicki Searcy

Vicki Searcy's Final Thoughts on Medical Staff Services and Healthcare Opportunities

May 26, 2022
  • Author:
    Vicki Searcy
    Former VP, Consulting
    Vicki has managed several credentialing and privileging practices, led a national healthcare accreditation and compliance consulting practice, was a surveyor for the NCQA, and a former president of NAMSS.

My perspective about medical staff services spans the years from 1982 to the present (40 years!). Almost my entire career has been spent in healthcare and focused on areas related to credentialing and privileging. Therefore, I do have a perspective about the future of individuals who have their careers before them. And I believe that what is to come is just as exciting as what I have experienced during my 40 years in healthcare.

When I went to St. Mary-Rogers Memorial Hospital in 1982 to apply for a position as a pathology assistant (long story that I’ll skip) I had no idea how my previous experience working in Institutional Research at the University of Arkansas would be beneficial in my new position. All I knew was that I was very tired of working as a woman in a man’s world (remember that this was 40 years ago) and wanted to do something that would make me happy to go to work each day.

Fate took over when I went to Human Resources at St. Mary’s that day in 1982 and I ended up in the CEO’s office. Sister John Vianney, CEO of St. Mary’s and I had an instant connection and I was hired to work for her on some special projects – one of which was to work with her to prepare the organization for an upcoming Joint Commission survey. Sister John told me later that she knew within about five minutes that she was going to hire me – and it didn’t take me that long to accept the position. I found myself reporting to a highly respected woman in a leadership position of a hospital and I sensed that I would learn many lessons from her. And I did.

Fast forward a few years – my special project evolved into my being responsible for the medical staff office, utilization management (very important since the DRG payment system for Medicare was just being implemented), quality assurance, coordination of ambulatory care services, medical records department, accreditation coordination – and “other duties as assigned.” I loved my job! By 1985, I was certified by NAMSS and was soon President of NAMSS (1987-1988). Within a few years, I moved to California and formed a consulting company focused on credentialing operations and privileging, which is what I have done for most of my career.

So – what does this have to do with you? What are the lessons to be learned? What is ahead for you?

I believe that there are fantastic opportunities for Medical Staff Services and Credentialing Professionals – those opportunities may be different than the opportunities that I had when I got into healthcare, but they are certainly there. And – today’s healthcare environment is very welcoming of women in leadership roles. There were many years during my career when I was the only woman in the room – that isn’t true any longer. Every day I work with fantastic people (men and women) who do great work in credentialing and privileging. I’m fortunate to work with them and to have learned from them. I know that the future of the credentialing and privileging industry is in good hands that will take the profession to new achievements. And I’m very proud that many of those individuals work at VerityStream!

I’ve often spoken and written about new opportunities in the credentialing/privileging arena – individuals can focus on data management/administration, credentialing operations, and others are becoming privileging experts in their organizations. There are many opportunities for those who want to excel. Changes in the industry provide great opportunities – and this is a time of change. It is up to each individual in this profession to determine a career path. And there are a lot of individuals in this profession who are examples of achievement.

I’m thrilled to have been part of credentialing and privileging for the past 40 years. I’m retiring this month and will be moving on to new adventures. I leave with the certainty that credentialing/privileging will only become more important in the future as we continue to put systems in place to assure that patients are taken care of by competent providers.

My wonderful colleague, Lisa Rothmuller, will be the editor of this publication in the future. I know that many of you know Lisa as she has been with VerityStream (and with the previous company that became VerityStream) for many years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lisa for the past six years and have so much admiration and respect for her knowledge and many talents. There are an unbelievable number of other people that I’ve worked with over the years that have inspired me – too many to mention in this article. That has been one of the wonderful aspects of being in this profession – I’ve met people from all over the USA who are colleagues as well as friends. I would like to add, however, that I started my career with a wonderful CEO and ended with the absolute best – Michael J. Sousa, President of VerityStream. Thank you, Michael for your inspiring leadership to me and to all of us at VerityStream.

What’s next for me? I’m moving to Portugal this summer and look forward to learning to speak a new language and to indulging my love of European history and travel. I cherish the years that I have worked with the VerityStream and HealthStream family – and will miss them – but look forward to my next adventure.

Thank you for reading for all these years.