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Many people would die of embarrassment if they were judged by their college freshman days. Then there’s Miguel Vigo IV. Now chief revenue cycle officer at University of California (UC) San Diego Health, Vigo was just weeks into his first year of college when the Twin Towers fell. And that was it. Vigo immediately left college and enlisted in the US Army.
“I didn’t grow up with much, but my father, Miguel Vigo III, raised me to be a stand-up person, a man of my word, and a patriot,” says Vigo, who was the first person in his family to attend college. “Through my family and friends, and with God’s protection, I made it through.”
Vigo grew up poor in Chicago, experiencing real traumas as a result of gang violence. After winding up in a hospital as a child, he connected on a personal level with a hospital financial counselor, whose kindness and support ultimately shaped his career path.
It’s not growing up on Chicago streets that defines Vigo. Not five years in the Army. Nor returning to college as what seemed like the oldest freshman on campus. What defines Vigo today is he pride he exudes when he talks about his UC San Diego Health team and his gratitude and love for his family.
“One of the things that attracted me to this role was the fact that this is a large academic institution where the culture supports new systems of care, new research, and new treatments that have a direct impact on people’s lives,” he explains. “We are on the forefront of discovery and teach what we learn to the next generation of doctors, nurses, and clinicians.”
Vigo himself is a lifelong learner, having added an MBA to his résumé in 2019. When he joined UC San Diego Health in 2022, it felt like home. Vigo wanted to continue to apply and expand his skill set—something that was inevitable in a role that involves the complex task of collecting revenue. “I’ve never shied away from a challenge,” he says.
In order to understand the impact Vigo wants to have on UC San Diego Health, it’s important to understand how he sees revenue cycle. It’s not just an arm of the broader financial body; it’s an intricate function within its own ecosystem.
“In healthcare, revenue cycle can be unpredictable because there is no guarantee of payment for services provided,” Vigo explains. “There’s myriad complicated obstacles and considerations. The combination of helping patients who may be critically ill and navigating insurance companies is incredibly complex.”
Vigo emphasizes that revenue cycle in healthcare can vary drastically from organization to organization based on scope of the revenue cycle team(s), and the integrated and combined strengths of the finance and operations teams. In some organizations, revenue cycle teams are given little consideration and not provided the assets, investments, or human capital to optimize the role.
“What I see is that UC San Diego Health understands just how much value the revenue cycle functions can provide to help sustain and strengthen the bottom line as well as the patient experience,” he says. “There are so many differences here that I saw immediately, and it just speaks to why they’re so good at what they do. They help us help the organization.”
Vigo believes UC San Diego Health is a model because decisions are made based on data and education. His team is consistently working to meet evidence-based quality metrics, aided by significant data analytics. “We refuse to be an A-minus organization,” Vigo says. “We always want to see how we can do better. We want to be data-driven and ahead of the curve.”
Revenue cycle teams leverage data from electronic medical records as well as derive data from multiple sources to provide dashboards that communicate real-time financial health and support to each department and service line.
While he’s relatively new in his role, Vigo already has a soft spot for his people. He’s hoping to bring a focus on the importance of mental health for his team, and he’s willing to lead by example.
He’s also an advocate for the power of physical activity, noting that he’s “the weird guy in the corner of the gym” engaged in high-intensity combat training workouts. Along with pushing his team, he likes pushing his own body to its max.
There’s still an awful lot of spirit and fight in Vigo. No hardship, trauma, or setback could keep him down for long: he’s an example of how true resolve can uplift the individual and the team.
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