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Jamie Kerr 730x400

Jamie Kerr

Medical Management, Class of 2007

Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Utilization Management
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

A graduate of both the State University of New York at Buffalo and Northwestern University medical school, Dr. Kerr enjoyed her career as a clinical faculty member at the University of Rochester Medical Center for 20 years. Primarily serving within the department of Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals, it wasn’t until a respected colleague at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield asked her to consider an open position that she considered a career change. Kerr stated “when I explored the position, I was interested in population-based programs, specifically, health plan approaches to medical policy and quality programs.

Now overseeing the medical director team that is responsible for talking with physicians and conducting clinical reviews, Kerr credits her study in Simon’s Medical Management program with helping her build important business skills. “After moving to Excellus BCBS in 2000,” she says, “I met great teachers at the health plan and learned a great deal on the job. I was learning to partner with physicians in a very different role. But I knew in order to do my job well, I needed a deeper understanding of the work.”

Kerr found her opportunity in 2006 when Simon launched its Medical Management program. “I didn’t have any analytics, operations or business background,” she says. “So when I learned about the program, I made the decision to go back to school and get my master’s.” “The curriculum provided a foundation in operations, marketing and a deeper understanding of the language of health care financing.” Kerr notes, “I am a more effective leader.”

Her Simon experience also changed the way she looks at business problems. “I have a different level of understanding of the “forest and trees,” Kerr says. “The forest is the high-level strategy, the conceptual framework. However, there are also critical details you need to understand with respect to that bigger picture—whether it’s accounting, operations, or understanding assets—those make up the trees. The competencies I gained at Simon helped me see that bigger picture without losing sight of identifying the important details.”

Jamie Kerr Kerr

“Before Simon, the business side of health care was essentially opaque to me. I had a limited understanding of finances, accounting, balance sheets, business plans, and business operations. I learned something I could use on the job every week of the program.”

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