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Learning From the Best

Revenue cycle director takes advantage of premier program close to home

Aaron Richards
Director, Professional Services, Revenue Cycle, Huntsville Hospital Health System

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2023

Not many people get to work in the same building where they were born. But Aaron Richards counts himself fortunate to have spent most of his career at Huntsville Hospital, where he became a director at age 29 and has gained experience with nearly every component of revenue cycle management.

Seeking additional knowledge and skills to build on that experience, he decided to pursue the MMHC at Vanderbilt. It was not a difficult decision. “The MMHC program takes an MBA curriculum and adds a healthcare perspective to it,” Aaron says. “It’s one of the top healthcare programs in the country. To be the best, I thought I needed to learn from the best.”

The faculty, he found, lived up to his high expectations. “They are seasoned subject matter experts who have spent their careers working in healthcare and are able to share real-life scenarios and applications of the material,” Aaron says, noting that more than one of his professors had worked in revenue cycle management.

Equally valuable, he says, were the diverse backgrounds of his fellow students. “The majority were clinicians,” he notes, “and it was refreshing to hear their perspectives. We are able to learn from classmates who represent all the different areas that make up healthcare, such as supply chain, nursing, managed care contracting, pharmacy, and various physician specialties. Some of the information other classmates shared was as valuable as the material.”

Aaron also availed himself of the opportunity to take part in the Leadership Development Program, which he credits with “helping me identify my weaknesses as a leader and developing skills to improve on those weaknesses.” The LDP, he believes, “will bring great returns over my career.”

Looking back as he neared graduation, Aaron says the program has helped him see differently. “I was accustomed to looking at things through my revenue cycle lens, but now I see from many different perspectives, including the clinical perspective. It has equipped me to be a healthcare leader and opened many doors that previously were closed.”

Fun Fact: I was born at Huntsville Hospital and have now spent the majority of my career working for Huntsville Hospital and plan to continue to work for Huntsville Hospital for a long time.

“To be the best, I thought I needed to learn from the best.”