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WVAHP Announces the Winners of the 2023 iCARE Award Story Contest

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Charleston, W.Va.:  The West Virginia Association of Health Plans (WVAHP) announced the winners of its fifth annual iCare Awards on December 11th at the University of Charleston. WVAHP is a trade association made up of the managed care organizations (MCOs) that service West Virginia’s Medicaid program. The iCare Awards are given to employees of WVAHP member-MCOs who have demonstrated exemplary care and service to West Virginia Medicaid members in helping them achieve positive outcomes in their healthcare delivery.


"This year we had a record number of story submissions sent in. Each one is special so narrowing the long list to 8 winners is a challenge," said Ben Beakes, executive director of the WVAHP. "The employees of the WV managed care companies go above and beyond for their members and their diligence shows in the success of so many of their stories."


The winners are listed below along with a brief summary of their submissions. Congratulations to all of the 2023 iCARE Award winners.


GRAND PRIZE WINNERS

Michelle Tracy – The Health Plan

In a remarkable display of commitment to community support, Michelle Tracy received a program referral for a baby facing numerous health challenges, including NAS and suspected fetal alcohol syndrome. The great grandmother, unexpectedly becoming the baby's guardian, lacked essential resources. Through extensive efforts, she educated her on available services, facilitated the acquisition of necessary items, and collaborated with CPS and hospital staff. Facing obstacles from the hospital's social worker, Michelle persisted in advocating for the baby's needs. Coordinating with management, she arranged for the delivery of a diaper bag and essential items, and personally contributed sleepers, onesies, and more. The baby's progress, coupled with support from Birth to Three, local church, and WIC, culminated in a successful transition to a loving family. The great grandmother expressed gratitude for the assistance, and Michelle remains committed to monitoring the member's progress and supporting the guardian as needed.

 

Karen Halloran – UniCare

Over the course of a year, Karen Halloran demonstrated exceptional commitment in caring for a member who had experienced a life-altering accident, falling 18 feet from a ladder and becoming a semi-quadriplegic. This individual faced numerous challenges, including a sacral pressure ulcer and sepsis, leading to a weakened state and deep depression. Karen’s involvement began post-discharge in June 2023, addressing critical needs such as finding a primary care physician (PCP) and securing essential medical equipment like a wheelchair cushion and a low-air loss mattress. She navigated challenges, including overcoming obstacles with the DME company to ensure the timely delivery of the mattress. Additionally, Karen intervened when the member faced a medication denial crisis, successfully resolving the issue with the pharmacist to ensure his pain management needs were met. Through diligent efforts and collaboration with healthcare professionals, Karen provided crucial support, significantly improving the member's quality of life, garnering heartfelt gratitude from him.


Runner Up Winners

Annetta Tiller – UniCare

Annetta Tiller, based in McDowell County, witnesses the struggles of local families through her work at UniCare. Recognizing the recurring need for shoes among community members, she initiated the "Walk a Mile in my Shoes" project, gathering over 150 pairs through generous contributions. These shoes were distributed among five local organizations, addressing the footwear needs of families facing various challenges. Annetta's compassionate initiative has already made a significant impact, providing warm shoes for the upcoming winter to grateful individuals and aiding a family of three who lost their home in a fire. The project's success showcases its potential for replication across West Virginia to assist families in need.

Sheri Bond – The Health Plan

Sheri Bond, a devoted Community Outreach Liaison with The Health Plan, actively contributes to the 10 communities she serves. In Wood County, she engages with Appalachian Head Start classrooms, providing monthly activities and promoting healthy living. Sheri plays a key role in planning community baby showers, tailoring each experience to meet the unique needs of different counties. Volunteering at Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, she helps address food insecurity, drawing from her own experiences. Sheri educates young adults at the ARC of the MOV about healthy drink options, witnessing positive changes in their choices. Currently involved in various initiatives, including Secret Santa programs and flu vaccination clinics, Sheri's multifaceted approach reflects her dedication to community service. Her personal experiences allow her to connect with individuals on a deeper level, making her commitment truly impactful. Sheri expresses gratitude to The Health Plan for the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of her communities and looks forward to continuing her meaningful work with community partners.


Karen Dominick – Aetna

Karen Dominick, a dedicated Care Manager, demonstrated her commitment to helping members like Clint, a 52-year-old facing substance use, financial instability, and employment barriers. Referring Clint to Peer Support in April 2022, Karen worked alongside a Peer Support Specialist (PSS) to develop healthier coping mechanisms, reduce substance use, and address employment goals. Despite challenges, Clint secured CDL training, overcame obstacles, and obtained a bus driver position by December 2022, appreciating the local opportunity and benefits. In January 2023, Clint, with PSS assistance, connected with the Good News Garage program and received a gifted car in March 2023. By May 2023, feeling stable, Clint discontinued PSS, attributing his success to the support, resource identification, and coping skills acquired during the process, expressing deep gratitude for the transformative impact on his sobriety and overall well-being.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Amanda Poole - UniCare

Amanda Poole's commitment to the community shines through her impactful role as a Case Manager for a 2-year-old named Charley, who battled VACTERL Syndrome, a rare congenital anomaly. Despite never meeting face to face, Amanda played a crucial role in assisting Charley's mother with DME supplies, providing emotional support, and being a constant source of help and comfort during Charley's numerous surgeries and hospital stays. Charley's passing deeply affected Amanda, highlighting the special connection she had developed. Six months later, Amanda received a message from Charley's mother, who had started a nonprofit foundation in memory of Charley to help families affected by VACTERL Syndrome. This act of creating positive change in the face of grief underscores Amanda's lasting impact and dedication to making a difference in the lives of those she serves.

Amanda White - The Health Plan

Amanda White, Supervisor of Community Outreach, leverages her 15 years of experience in mental health to passionately address mental health stigma in Ohio's Marshall, Wirt, and Ritchie counties. Collaborating with local organizations, she provides Resiliency education to students, imparting coping skills and strategies for life's challenges. Expanding outreach to Raleigh County, she educates caregivers on fostering resilience in adults and children. In the face of West Virginia's opioid crisis, Amanda emphasizes prevention to combat substance use issues and associated health risks. Active in classrooms and conferences, she addresses compassion fatigue among those working with community members. Committed to breaking the silence around mental health, Amanda strives to equip even the youngest community members with essential coping strategies and contribute to better mental health outcomes.

Alexandra Martin - Aetna

Alexandra Martin, a caring Care Manager in Aetna’s Mountain Health Promise program, demonstrated her commitment to assisting members facing challenges through her support for Vivian. Facing the stress of her one-year-old son's heart surgery, Vivian reached out to Alexandra for help covering expenses during the trip. Alexandra, proactive in her approach, engaged Aetna’s Member Advocate and collaborated with CASA to secure assistance. CASA provided hotel accommodations and a per diem for meals, easing the family's financial strain. Alexandra's swift coordination with the Member Advocate ensured a smooth process, showcasing their dedication to supporting members during difficult times. The relieved family expressed heartfelt gratitude for the invaluable assistance provided.

Aetna-Karen Dominick Runner-Up Aetna-Alexandra Martin Honorable Mention


The Health Plan-Michelle Tracy Grand Prize The Health Plan-Sheri Bond Runner-Up


The Health Plan-Amanda White Honorable Mention











UniCare-Karen Halloran Grand Prize UniCare- Annetta Tiller Runnr-Up


UniCare-Amanda Poole Honorable Mention


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