Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Series: Michelle Miller, MS, RN, PMP

Medicaid Who’s Who: Michelle Miller, MS, RN, PMP – Chief Nursing Officer with the Colorado Department of Healthcare and Financing

Michelle received her nursing degree in 1994 from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She worked until 2004 as a Pediatric and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Registered Nurse, specializing in respiratory disorders, children with special needs, and acute trauma services. Michelle moved to Colorado in 2003 and soon turned her focus to the outpatient clinical setting. She became a nationally certified Organ Recovery Coordinator for Colorado’s Organ Procurement Organization, Donor Alliance Inc., where she focused on increasing successful multi-organ donations in infants and children. In 2006, she accepted a position as a Liver Transplant Coordinator at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Michelle received her Master’s degree in Leadership in Health Care Systems at Regis University prior to joining the Colorado Medicaid team in 2013 as the Pediatric Assessment Tool (PAT) Revision Project Manager. She successfully designed and implemented a PAT pilot study. Michelle transitioned into the Utilization Management (UM) Contract Manager position and made significant contributions to the modernization of the ColoradoPAR Program, the Medicaid Nurse Advice Line, and the Client Over Utilization Program over the past 3 years. Michelle was recently promoted to the Chief Nursing Officer position.

Michelle lives in Larkspur, Colorado where she enjoys gourmet cooking, all forms of exercise, and spending time on her deck with her husband, dogs, and the local wildlife.

At the Medicaid Innovations Conference, where Clay Farris of Mostly Medicaid is the Event Chairperson, Michelle Miller is presenting the following agenda session:

Bridging the Client Engagement and Care Coordination Gap to Improve Outcomes: The Colorado Medicaid Nurse Advice Line Model

The Colorado Medicaid Nurse Advice Line aids clients in determining the appropriate level of care, provides health education and region-specific referral information based on individual needs, and facilitates care coordination. This session will discuss this patient-centered care coordination model.

You can learn more about this topic and the rest of the agenda at

  1. Which segment of the Industry are you currently involved?

State government

  2. What is your current position and with what organization?

I am the Chief Nursing Officer for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF).  We administer Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program), the Child Health Plan Plus, and other health care programs.

  3. How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I am fairly new to Medicaid; my nursing career began in 1994 and I joined the HCPF team in 2013.

  4. What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

I am passionate about empowering nurses to become leaders, not only at the bedside or in hospitals, but throughout the entire health care industry and the communities for which they serve.  Nursing is consistently rated as one of the most ethical and honest professions, however I am not confident we are utilizing nurses to their full potential. 

I am also passionate about people taking responsibility for their own health and wellness by becoming as involved in their preventative care in much the same way people are with their “sick” care.   Improving one’s health literacy, wellness, and lifestyle changes needs to be a priority for all people regardless of where they receive their medical care.  

In addition, I am very passionate about process improvement.  Innovation is the hot buzz word right now but I am a firm believer that prior to designing new programs or processes we should be certain that our current ones are fully implemented and functioning at capacity.  New does not always mean improved.

  5. What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

My bucket list includes a food and wine filled trip to Italy.   I love to cook and would also like to attend some form of professional culinary training.

  6. What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

I am an avid reader and quite literally obsessed with food.  My days off are filled with hiking followed by an afternoon of cooking or baking while simultaneously reading a book.

  7. Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

There are too many intriguing individuals to list just one but I will say that I am fascinated by historical figures who were ostracized for their beliefs only to be vindicated after their deaths. 

  8. What is your favorite junk food?

Forget sweets, I love all things salty and crunchy including nachos, buffalo wings, and french fries.

  9. Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

Graduating with my bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1994.  I worked an average of two to three jobs while attending college full time.  I used to study in my car between jobs and while waiting at stop lights.

 10. For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

I wish I had prioritized staying in touch with friends as I moved from state to state.  I grew up in North Dakota but left after high-school and then traveled across the southwest during my time as a traveling nurse.  I have met some extraordinary people who I simply lost touch with over the years.

 11. What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months? 

There are so many challenges it is difficult to choose only three but I would have to say the future of the Affordable Care Act, improving patient access to care while incorporating strategies to address the social determinants of health, and controlling the rising cost of health care including the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals.