Spotlight on:  Melissa Walters, MHA, FMSP, CPMSM, CPCS

Spotlight on: Melissa Walters, MHA, FMSP, CPMSM, CPCS

Dec 10, 2020
  • 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.

We recently spoke with Melissa Walters, the Assistant Vice President, Medical Staff Operations at MedStar Health, a not-for-profit health system serving in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Melissa has over thirty years' experience in the healthcare field as it relates to credentialing, privileging, physician contracting, compliance, and self-governed Medical Staffs. Her passion for the MSP profession is undeniable.

Melissa Walters 

Melissa Walters, MHA, FMSP, CPMSM, CPCS

Asst. Vice President – Medical Staff Affairs
MedStar Health
Columbia, MD

How she got here…

Melissa can’t recall a time she didn’t work in the healthcare field. She landed a job in the industry right out of high school, and she’s been hooked ever since. She quickly fell in love with making doctors’ lives easier when she worked for a not-for-profit health system that served the underserved. The practitioners there were busy and overwhelmed. They didn’t have time to manage credentialing and re-credentialing, so she jumped in to help simplify the process. She rapidly realized that MSPs held the important role of gatekeeper of patient safety. She returned to school and made the decision to get certified, and now holds a Master’s in Health Administration and two certifications: Medical Services Management (CPMSM) and Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS).

How she’s created success

Melissa is so humble. She doesn’t consider herself successful, but she admits that she’s achieved many goals throughout her career by always putting the patient first. She is where she is today because she believes strongly in the mission of being the gatekeeper of patient safety and the need to represent how important the MSP profession is to senior leadership and colleagues.

She views her work as her life’s mission, so it doesn’t feel like work!

What she likes most about her current position

No two days are ever the same, so she’s never bored. This could not be truer than it has been in the past year. The pandemic has thrown so much at the industry.

Her profession’s greatest challenge

It’s hard to find a software solution that handles everything on her plate. The lifecycle of a practitioner and their appointment with a hospital or health system is complicated. But Melissa is working closely with VerityStream’s leadership to advise on what’s needed.

Her greatest achievement

Earning the NAMSS Fellow Designation (FMSP) in 2018. This designation is the pinnacle of achievement and acknowledgment for a medical services professional, signifying knowledge, service to the organization, and advancement of the profession. Melissa has been involved with NAMSS for over 20 years, serving in a variety of volunteer roles and leadership positions including President and Chair of the Leadership Development Workgroup. She currently holds a NAMSS faculty position.

What she wishes someone had told her about this profession before she got into it

Melissa doubts that there is anything anybody could have told her that she would have listened to at 18! But she tells others that are new to the profession that within six months they will know whether they love it or hate it. And, if they hate it – they need to get out before they get sucked in.

Melissa realizes that some people might view being an MSP as a thankless profession. She wants everyone to love what they do the way she does, but she knows not everyone will share her passion and mission.

She also feels it’s important to work for great leaders and find great mentors as she has.

At 10, Melissa thought…

She’d be a psychologist. Her Dad thought that she would be a nurse. In the end, she did wind up in healthcare, and she says sometimes being an MSP is just like being a psychologist! Doctors often come to her asking for help with their problems.

Working remotely or in the office – which is better?

Melissa likes a hybrid approach. She oversees 10 hospitals, and she likes to visit her teams. It’s important for them to know that they are all in the trenches together. When she’s not in the field, she enjoys working from home. It’s a good balance.

What’s she’s watching while stuck at home…

Melissa thinks everyone needs a little Schitt’s Creek right now! It’s just fun and uplifting. But if you are looking for something more serious, the educator in her recommends the Smithsonian Channel’s Aerial America, which offers rare glimpses of our nation's most treasured landmarks from breathtaking heights.

If she could venture out on an adventure right now, Melissa would…

Take a riverboat cruise in Europe.

Fun fact…

Both Melissa’s daughter and niece are in the process of pursuing careers as MSPs. She’s truly one of the industry’s greatest cheerleaders!