MHA Grad Leverages Mentorship and Learning to Land Dream Job
Haley Higgs, MHA
Earlier this year, Haley Higgs landed in a dream job. In order to get lined up for that runway, though, she started steering while in WSU’s Master of Health Administration program.
Higgs, who graduated in April of this year, is now the market patient access assistant director for Parallon, a division of HCA Healthcare. In her role, she supports the revenue cycle and patient billing for hospitals in Utah, Idaho and Alaska.
She previously worked in a similar sector on the pharmacy side and was determined to move to the hospital side, but she needed to navigate the transition. That’s where she found an ally in Steve Bateman, executive in residence for the MHA program.
She approached Professor Bateman in a class and introduced herself. Having done her homework, she knew he had spent a large portion of his career with HCA. Higgs cultivated a mentor/mentee relationship with him, and he provided resume reviews, interviewing, contacts, even job shadowing. By the time the opportunity came, she was ready and knew it would be a good fit.
“He gave me as much time as I asked for, if I was willing to put in the work,” she said.
She continues to have interactions with him and other program leaders even after graduation.
That was just one advantage Higgs cultivated during her time as an MHA student. She also took advantage of the case competition, in which she and other students put their minds together to respond to a real-life scenario as if they were the organizational leaders in the situation.
One of her best moments in the program was a leadership simulation that ended up being a learning experience. An actual executive was in the board room, and she said she wasn't well prepared for the task at hand. After the exercise, students debriefed on what they could have done better. In that moment, she promised herself that she would never repeat going into a leadership meeting unprepared.
“I was grateful for the experience to stumble before I was faced with the real-life boardroom,” she said.
Another thing the program enabled her to do? See the patients behind the payments. The emphasis on patient care, regardless of the role a student fills after graduation, has stuck with Higgs all along the way. While she and her team do need to collect money in the end, she hasn’t forgotten that there are real people providing those payments.
“We want to be a patient satisfier,” she said.