HCAM Celebrates 23 Years!

April 2020 will be an important part of HCAM’s history for many reasons: adjusting to a telework model so we can continue serving consumers during the COVID-19 epidemic; the outpouring of support from foundations and individual donors to ensure that we have the resources we need; and, doing all we can to help our staff cope with these uncertain times. But we also have something to celebrate – our birthday month!

HCAM was founded in April 1997, as Baltimore HealthCare Access, beginning with two programs and 40 employees. Over the past 23 years, we’ve expanded to other parts of the state and we’ve grown to 16 programs, more than 20 funding sources, and 240 employees! We are grateful to all of our supporters, consumers, board members, donors, volunteers and partners who have helped us throughout the years, and we are especially thankful for our amazing staff, without whom our work would not be possible. Each year, our staff connect more than 145,000 consumers to health insurance, health care, and vital community resources as we pursue our mission to make Maryland healthier.

Four of our staff members have been with HCAM since we opened our doors in 1997. Two of them, Cherina and Nancy, sat down with our Marketing and Business Development Manager, Jordan, to talk about the things they love about HCAM and what has kept them motivated for 23 years.

Cherina’s Interview
Describe your role with HCAM:
My title is Lead Pregnancy Engagement Specialist. I am the Team Lead for the Maternal and Child Health Initiative in the Care Coordination Program at HCAM. I am responsible for making sure the team is updated with resources and information pertaining to our field. I also peer lead monthly meetings, do outreach to locate pregnant women and women who are hard to locate in the traditional referral process.

What is your favorite part about working at HCAM?
Knowing that I can provide an important service to my community and consumers is my favorite part about working at HCAM. I love to help people and I like knowing I made a difference for somebody.

What keeps you motivated professionally or at HCAM?
The consistent communication with the community is something that keeps me motivated at HCAM. Making sure I can provide our community with new resources and referrals has pushed me throughout my career. I truly believe in HCAM’s mission and the work that we do in each program. If I am unable to provide help to a specific consumer, knowing that HCAM has a variety of programs where I can refer the consumer is extremely important.

What would you say is the key to working at a job for 20+ years?
The main thing that has kept me at HCAM for so long is that my longevity is very recognized. Upper management commends me for being here for so long. A lot of time when new staff come, I’m chosen to give them the run down on everything having to do with HCAM and also conduct orientations with individuals in my specific department. I also love the people that I work with. Everyone has passion to help people. I find myself feeling very proud that I am able to serve my community for such a long time!

Nancy’s Interview
Describe your role with HCAM:
I work in the capacity of a Community Ombudsman with MDH, State of Maryland Medical Assistance Program, Baltimore City ACCU and HealthCare Access Maryland. My role consists of advocating, mediation, and negotiating a resolution on behalf of the HealthChoice enrollees, providers, Managed Care Organizations, Fee-For-Service clients, and the uninsured. Working at HCAM for 20 plus years has afforded me the opportunity to provide care coordination services, short term case management services, HealthChoice education regarding navigation, utilization, the appeals process, policy changes and Medicaid benefit changes that affect HealthChoice enrollees.

What is your favorite part about working at HCAM?
A few of my favorite parts about working at HCAM include: working with the population I provide services to, learning new technology, and working with a dynamic group of co-workers and colleagues under the altruistic leadership of Kim Lyles and the management team in the Care Coordination Program (CCP). The CCP family are talented, compassionate, funny, and as dedicated as I am to serving this community and one another in spirit and in truth.

What keeps you motivated professionally or at HCAM?
Every morning that I rise, I pray! I remember daily that the population and community that CCP serves deserve to know that they have advocates that will be a voice for them and provide excellent services as a representative of HCAM. I am a change agent and I remind myself every day that I am on assignment and my purpose is to provide education and push for positive resolutions as I empower the clients to advocate on behalf of their families.

What would you say is the key to working at a job for 20+ years?
It takes a lot of commitment, patience, and prayer to work with a company for 20+ years. My role as an ombudsman is rewarding to me. Understanding my purpose and reminding myself daily that it’s not about me but the people I serve, keeps me balanced and humbled.  As I continue on this assignment and this journey, the only advice I can give to the staff at HCAM is that you must have heart and passion for the public health system, for this work, for the community, and for the people you serve. Please understand that you are on an assignment and take time for self, family, and friends. Pray and Be Blessed!