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 Montgomery Champions Patients in Her Executive Role at Houston Methodist

LeTesha (Tesha) Montgomery, RN, MHA, FACHE, vice president, operations and patient access at Houston Methodist, decided to become a difference-maker from a young age.
“I knew I wanted to work in a profession that would allow me to care for patients and their families during a time of need,” she recalls.
The reason for her determined decision and for entering the healthcare sector was very personal. She tragically lost her older brother to necrotizing pancreatitis, just one month before his 21st birthday.
“He was on dialysis for kidney failure and went into the hospital for what was supposed to be an overnight routine procedure to replace his shunt. He never made it out. That experience forever changed my life,” she recounts.
Thus, Montgomery began her journey in patient care. “I worked in oncology and primary care on the clinical side.”
However, the administrative aspects of healthcare intrigued her. “I’ve always had an interest in finance, strategy, and operations, and didn’t want to leave the healthcare sector. Getting my master’s degree in health administration afforded me the unique opportunity to leverage my clinical experience with the administrative side.”
She chose well. “I love this combination!” Montgomery enthuses.
“It enables me to think differently, bringing together the perspectives of both the clinician and administration. I also have a variety of career options and paths to choose within the healthcare sector.”
Of course, there were growing pains that eventually subsided as she continued her journey.
“It was challenging during my transition from working as nurse to administrative leadership,” she admits. “I had a strong affinity for interacting with patients, and enjoyed providing direct care. It was a completely different environment going from working on the front lines in patient care to sitting in an office wearing a suit, attending regular meetings, and leading teams.”
However, Montgomery didn’t just miss the direct patient interaction. “I had to overcome the uncertainties I had in my own mind, being a young minority leader with responsibilities for a large staff spanning different generations,” she points out.
The now healthcare executive navigated these challenges by recognizing that regardless of her role in healthcare, she was still impacting the care and services patients ultimately receive.
“Streamlining processes and improving quality and service behind the scenes all impacts our patients,” she notes.
And how did she overcome generational challenges? “I overcame my uncertainties by realizing that strong leadership is not contingent on age or background,” she answers.
“Effective leadership is demonstrated through execution, integrity, accountability, and setting an example that others want to follow.”
Today, as one of more than 23,000 employees in eight hospitals, including Houston Methodist Hospital, the flagship location in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, and 170 clinic locations across the greater Houston, TX area, Montgomery is responsible for leading the operations and access management of its physician organization and its 1.3 million annual visits.
How does Montgomery stay centered when so much swirls about her and when her leadership is counted upon in a variety of ways?
She replies: “Never forget the fundamental reason why you want to work in this field. At the core it’s all about the needs of our patients. Everything we do in healthcare should tie back to what’s in the best interest of those we serve.”
For Montgomery and Houston Methodist, patients always take precedence.
“Houston Methodist is a faith-based organization with a strong reputation for safety, quality, and service, and putting the needs of the patient first,” she notes. “It’s easy to get caught up in the business of healthcare and lose sight of what’s important. Always remember that patients come first, work with integrity, and execute with excellence!”
And never, ever get too comfy, for this sector is in perpetual flux, forever upgrading itself, she further advises.
“The most surprising thing to me is the speed and pace of change and innovation! Our organization has embraced innovation and is actively engaging in new technologies to streamline processes, ease administrative burdens, and improve the service and care provided to our patients,” she states.
Lastly, Montgomery recommends dreaming big just like this sector does: “I come from very humble beginnings and have been blessed with professional opportunities that once seemed completely unattainable. I love to inspire and encourage students and young careerists to dream big and not let your upbringing and past define your future!”
Learn more about Houston, TX-based Houston Methodist via houstonmethodistcareers.org, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
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