Maria T. Cross, RHIA

Maria is currently the Director of Health Information Management Services and Privacy Officer, for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton.  Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton is an 88-bed acute care hospital. It is one of three community hospitals (Milton, Needham and Plymouth) with a clinical affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.  

In this role, Maria’s responsibilities include the overall management of the HIMS process and CDI.  A major project on Maria’s plate is transitioning to a new version of Meditech through the CommunityONE EHR project. When fully implemented, the CommunityONE EHR will enable the three BIDMC community hospitals to more easily share important patient information, thereby improving quality of care and patient experience.

Like so many HIM professionals, Maria was not originally planning a career in the field.  “I started at Northeastern University in the College of General Engineering working towards a degree in Computer Science.  At that time, computer science was just beginning to take root.  While at NU I had a bit of a problem with my Physics class. I did finally pass, but decided to look around and see what else might be of interest.  I had seen a posting related to the Health Record Administration program within the College of Pharmacy of Allied Health at NU.  I met with Judy Weilerstein, the Program Director, and she felt that my interest in Computer Science would be well served in the program as ‘computerized health records are the future of HRA.’  Let’s just say the rest is history.” 

Maria often advises new HIM professionals to explore many options until they find what they are passionate about and to never stop learning.  “NU’s Co-op Program allowed me to work in various areas of HIM as a student. The ability to apply what I was learning as I progressed through the program to a real work experience was very beneficial to me.”

“Also, I would suggest not to wait too long to pursue an advanced degree. As an HIM professional, there are many different focuses for our expertise. An advanced degree can give you the opportunity to expand your skill set and be ready to contribute in a meaningful way.”  

And what is next for Maria?  “I have worked in many different aspects of HIM over the years:  Acute Care, Long Term Care, Chronic Care, and Ambulatory Care, and recently returned to the Acute Care setting.  I find that my passion lies somewhere between Acute Care, working in Hospitals, Quality Improvement and Health Data Management and Analysis.  I continue to challenge myself to learn and apply what I learn.  I look forward to many more years working in HIM.”

Thank you, Maria, for sharing your story!