Consultant Spotlight: Melissa Smith, RHIT, CTR


Melissa began working for Registry Partners in November 2015 as a Project Manager where she has managed several CoC accredited cancer program projects over the last 6 months.  Melissa has demonstrated an extensive understanding of both the CoC and NAPBC accreditation process.  In her new role as the Accreditation Services Operations Director, she will assist the Vice President of Accreditation Services and Accreditation Services Program Director with the oversight of our CoC and NAPBC accredited cancer program projects.  She will work one on one with her assigned team of CoC Project Directors and Managers to ensure our accredited cancer program projects have sound operations and efficient processes in place for long term success and client satisfaction.  She will also be responsible for ongoing training and mentoring of her assigned CoC Project Director and Project Management teams which will foster the growth of a productive, operationally sound and accountable CoC management team.   Her skill set and many years of CoC and NAPBC experience have provided a solid foundation for her new role as Accreditation Services Operations Director.

Melissa entered into the healthcare profession back in March of 1994 and worked for 10 years at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio where she served as Database Coordinator/Chart Analysis where she analyzed incomplete charts, generated weekly and monthly HIM statistical reports, worked with coding and transcription.  In January of 2013 she took an Associate Director of Client Services position with CHAMPS Healthcare in Cleveland Ohio and in January 2014 was promoted to Director of Client Services where she supervised 45 + staff members and managed 36 cancer programs.  In April 2015 she accepted a position with MedPartners as a Cancer Registry Consultant where she assisted cancer registry clients with day to day operations and CoC programmatic work.

Melissa was Valedictorian at Central-Hower High School in Ohio and attended the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Economics.  She earned her RHIT certification in 2002 and her CTR certification in 2006.

She is an active member of the National Cancer Registrars Association, Ohio Cancer Registrars Association where she has served as Secretary from 2007 to present, Northeast Ohio Cancer Registrars Association where she served as President in 2010 and is currently serving as Secretary, American Health Information Management Association, Ohio Health Information Management Association and Eastern Ohio Health Information Management Association.

Melissa resides in Massillon, Ohio with her husband of 17 years, Brad.  They have two cats named Casey (15 years old) and Jasper (3 years old). Melissa enjoys watching sports, especially her home state teams: the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Ohio State University Buckeyes. She also enjoys scrapbooking.


Q&A with Melissa:

Q:     In your opinion, what makes your job interesting?

A:     I think that the variety of things that I can work on during the day makes my job interesting.  I may have plan of what I want to accomplish on any given day, but that could change in an instant.  I love that.


Q:     How did you become aware of the CTR profession and what did you do to prepare for the CTR certification?

A:     While working at a hospital in the Health Information Management department, I was taking a correspondence class through AHIMA to get my Registered Health Information Technician certification.  Part of the practicum included completing tasks in the Cancer Registry.  I was able to work at a sister hospital to complete this piece of the practicum.  I really enjoyed my time working in the cancer registry and decided make a career change.  I worked in the cancer registry field for 1 ½ years before taking the exam so I already had a solid background in the registry.  In addition, I had a prep class notebook that someone had given to me to study from.  That was all that I needed to pass the test.


Q:     What do you feel are some qualities that are necessary for someone to be a good cancer registrar?

A:     I think that you have to be able to multi-task to be a good cancer registrar. I also think that it helps if you are organized.