Every April, HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) celebrates its birthday, and this year is no different! Founded in 1997 as Baltimore HealthCare Access, HCAM celebrates 24 years of service to the Maryland community this year. Since 1997, HCAM has grown from two programs – Eligibility and Care Coordination – to 16 programs, and today has 267 staff members. Each year, our staff connect more than 100,000 individuals to health insurance, health care, and vital community resources as we pursue our mission to make Maryland healthier.
As we reflect on the past 24 years, one thing remains constant across our work: the dedication of our staff. Our staff work tirelessly to improve the lives of Marylanders, and do everything with their clients’ best interest in mind. As an organization, we are proud to have four staff members who have worked with HCAM since our founding.
Cherina, Lynell, Nancy, and Vanessa have all worked for HCAM since 1997. Throughout the last 24 years, they have experienced many different milestones, both professionally and personally, that have helped shape them into the individuals they are today. Continue reading below for more insight on their careers with HCAM and some advice they have to share from working at the same organization for nearly 25 years.
Vanessa D. – Director of Eligibility
What is one of the most important things you have learned about working for an organization for a long period of time? One of the most important things in working for an organization for a long period of time is knowing its mission and vision. In knowing this, you can speak more of the agency/organization and what it provides for consumers, communities, and partners.
How would you describe the work culture at HCAM? In knowing the mission and vision OF HCAM, you can truly understand what the organization provides to people, partners, and colleagues. Over the years, HCAM continues to offer a warm and welcoming work culture. The agency works together across all programs as one team to achieve the goal of making Maryland residents healthier.
Nancy F. – Community Ombudsman
What do you enjoy most about working with your HCAM team? I enjoy the camaraderie and friendships that I have formed throughout the years within my department and throughout the agency. I work with a dynamic group of people that are very transparent, supportive, and committed to providing the highest quality of service to consumers and to one another. The Care Coordination Program rocks!
What HCAM accomplishment are you most proud of? Being able to work in a position that I am passionate about and is in a Legacy Program within HCAM for 24 years, providing Medicaid services and Care Coordination to the citizens in Baltimore City, and being a mentor to my colleagues. Happy Birthday HCAM!
Lynell M. – Vice President of Programs
What’s one of your fondest memories at HCAM? One of my fondest memories was in 2011 when we rebranded and changed our name to HealthCare Access Maryland. This was so exciting as it represented expanding the great work we were doing in Baltimore City to other jurisdictions in Maryland.
Where do you see HCAM in ten years? In the next ten years I see HCAM as a key stakeholder providing community health services to vulnerable populations across Maryland and looking at outcomes of the work HCAM has done in supporting those that were impacted by COVID-19. I look forward to HCAM’s continued work to improve the lives of Maryland residents for many years to come!
Cherina S. – Lead Pregnancy Engagement Specialist
What is the biggest area of agency growth you have witnessed from when you started with HCAM to now? The biggest area of a growth that I have witnessed since starting with HCAM in 19997 is the expansion of the programs within the agency. HealthCare Access Maryland was originally named Baltimore HealthCare Access. During this time, our services were limited to Baltimore City residents only, and now we serve individuals within six jurisdictions across the state of Maryland.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in their professional career? The advice that I would give to someone who is just starting their professional career would be: choose a career that you are passionate about and take advantage of becoming a lifelong learner. Learning continuously will help you develop knowledge, skills, and tools that will help you become successful in your career. You may not begin as a top job performer, but as you grow in your profession, continue to persevere, develop, learn, positively adjust, change, and you will become a top performer. Longevity is key!