Every year, Modern Healthcare selects 25 rising stars in the healthcare industry as part of its Emerging Leaders program. We spoke to Sunitha Reddy, chief revenue officer and vice president of operations at Prime Healthcare, about her career journey and her main priorities at the organization.
Your undergraduate degree is in biology. How did you decide on a career in healthcare administration?
I grew up in a family of physicians who inspired me with their unwavering commitment to improving the lives of others and caring for those in need. My parents instilled in me a passion for learning and emphasized the importance of giving back. Witnessing the impact my parents had on their patients’ lives fueled my initial desire to pursue a career in medicine.
As I progressed through college, I discovered my strengths and interests lay in healthcare policy and having an impact at the community level. Determined to make a difference, I chose to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a focus on healthcare policy and management.
What was the most challenging part of your journey to overseeing operations?
After working in healthcare investment banking and consulting, I joined Prime Healthcare as the company was expanding its footprint across the country. I learned what goes into turning around and saving financially distressed hospitals. I saw the vital role these hospitals have as community partners and safe havens, and how essential it is for them to remain open.
Healthcare is local, and learning all the nuances of state requirements and regulations was a challenging learning curve. It took time to understand how each market operates, especially with regard to payer dynamics and reimbursement.
As chief revenue officer, what are some of your main priorities?
The revenue cycle plays such an important part in our patients’ financial experience. One of our main areas of focus is making healthcare more patient-centric.
We were one of the first health systems to provide price transparency data on our websites and implement tools for patients to generate estimates, and we are proud of the work done to help consumers better understand their healthcare costs.
Prime is also investing in digital technologies and processes to ease the patient journey.
What has been most rewarding about your leadership roles?
I would say fostering a strong sense of teamwork and helping others achieve their goals. It has been incredible to align departments and teams on a shared mission and roll out meaningful initiatives across the organization.
Helping others achieve their goals also gives me joy and shows me the impact we have as leaders. I lead a scholarship program that supports aspiring students, most from underprivileged backgrounds, in pursuing healthcare careers. These scholarships help support a workforce dedicated to enhancing patient care and ensuring health equity.