Farewell to a dedicated leader who oversaw tremendous growth

Chief revenue officer leaves YMG for a position at UConn

Marianne Dess-Santoro

Marianne Dess-Santoro, chief revenue officer for Yale Medical Group (YMG), is leaving the practice to join the University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center in Farmington as vice president of ambulatory care. When colleagues learned of her departure, they wished her well, using such words and phrases as “dedicated,” “beloved by many,” “extremely efficient,” “incredibly effective,” and “a real partner.”

Dess-Santoro said she is excited about the move, but had many emotional moments saying good-bye to the group that she joined in 1997 as executive director of financial services charged with implementing a new practice management system. In 2004, she was promoted to chief operating officer. She later served as chief of revenue services.

Both Patient Financial Services and Yale Medical Group underwent a significant transformation under Dess-Santoro’s leadership. Working under former CEO David Leffell, MD, she made key contributions during a significant period of transformation and growth, and supervised a staff of more than 300 people.

A ‘clear vision’ for the practice

“Marianne’s contributions to the school’s practice are profound,” said Dr. Leffell. “Her professionalization of key aspects of the organization has been fundamental to our current success. Marianne had a clear vision of what the faculty practice should be, and the central role faculty needed to play. She succeeded beyond my expectations. Working with Marianne was one of the highlights of my tenure leading the practice. I know that she will continue to excel and enhance the practice at the University of Connecticut, an institution she left almost twenty years ago to join us.”

Ronald Vender, MD, chief medical officer, called Dess-Santoro “an amazing repository of knowledge. If she doesn’t know the answer to something, she knows where to get it. She can take complex projects like the Epic implementation, break them down into manageable parts, organize a process, and deliver results. She is extremely smart and has an amazing memory. She would always say to me, ‘Don’t you remember when…?’ and of course, I didn’t. I learned never to question her memory.”

Dess-Santoro worked with YMG’s leadership team to provide the administrative infrastructure of the clinical practice. She spearheaded key YMG initiatives, including the implementation of the IDX patient management and access system, as well as the transition from IDX to Epic years later.

Long list of accomplishments

Her accomplishments also included the centralization of registration activities at YMG; the development of reporting tools for the School of Medicine; the creation of the Reimbursement Department; and the development of a project management team. In addition, Dess-Santoro centralized practice management, creating a structured consistent approach to managing clinicians and standardizing patient care. She was a instrumental in developing an alternative practice management model called Medical Practice Management, which is used by several outside practices that YMG manages.

While Dess-Santoro made a significant impact on the practice through her leadership, she said the best part of YMG has been “the people I have worked with and the people I have worked for. They are very supportive and I feel lucky to have them as friends and colleagues.”

Sally Thibodeau, director of the central business office in patient financial services said, “Under (Marianne’s) leadership, the practice has continued to see a significant increase or growth in overall billings and collections, most recently adding multiple community practices to the YMG family. She will be missed by the team that worked so closely with her."

Kathleen Bartolotta, a clinical reimbursement specialist, said, “Although Marianne was my supervisor I felt we were colleagues as our common goal was for the continued success and excellence of Yale University.”

YMG CEO Paul Taheri, MD, MBA, said, “Marianne is an extraordinary repository of knowledge and UConn is lucky to have her. Her efforts are recognized on a daily basis and YMG is a much stronger enterprise since her arrival. I wish her well in her transition, and I am certain she will be successful.”