Inaugural Medicaid Provider Awards Presented

Lincoln – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts presented the inaugural Medicaid Provider Awards Monday at the State Capitol.

The awards recognized three providers within Heritage Health, Nebraska’s Medicaid managed care program, according to a governor’s office news release.

“The inaugural winners of the Nebraska Medicaid Provider Awards provide outstanding customer service to our clients,” Ricketts said in a release. “They exem­plify our mission to create opportunity through more effective, more efficient and customer-focused state government.”

Ricketts chose one nominated provider from each of the three managed care organizations’ networks: UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Nebraska, Nebraska Total Care, and WellCare of Nebraska. Dannette R. Smith, CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Matthew Van Patton, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, joined Ricketts in making the presentations.

The inaugural honorees were:

• Dr. Henry “Hank” Sakowski for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Nebraska. Sakowski is an inter­nal medicine specialist with CHI Health Clinic, a fac­ulty member at the Creighton University School of Medicine and medical director for the clinically inte­grated network known as CHI Health Partners. 

Sakowski was instrumental in the collaborative work between CHI Health and United-Healthcare to identify the health risks or high users within a population of Medicaid patients. Care coordinators at the hospitals and clinics worked with patients with chronic condi­tions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure to complete a care plan. Both organizations began to understand the disease burden that patients were experiencing and supported Medicaid members with information to improve their health.

• Dr. Sharon Hammer for WellCare of Nebraska. Hammer is an accomplished psychiatrist who is cur­rently an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

In practice for more than 26 years, Hammer joined UNMC in 2005 with the goal of establishing a special­ized psychiatric service arm for reproductive psychiat­ric illnesses. At UNMC, it is estimated that over half of pregnant women are covered by Medicaid during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Hammer and her colleagues offer interventions for Medicaid high-risk women, often with pre-existing, but untreated, mental illnesses prior to pregnancy. Hammer also serves as a provider advisor to WellCare, aiding the MCO’s efforts in enhancing services to pregnant women and to chil­dren.

• Dr. Rebecca Lancaster for Nebraska Total Care. Lancaster is a family physician with Methodist Physicians Clinic. A graduate of Creighton University and Creighton University School of Medicine, Lancaster has served patients in the Omaha area for 11 years. She is the 2018 recipient of the Centene/Nebraska Total Care Physician Summit Award for quality in health care.

Lancaster meets the needs of Medicaid families through provision of high-quality health care in the primary care setting. Lancaster’s special interest in concussion management brings expertise to young Nebraska Medicaid members who participate in youth, high school, and post-secondary sports programs. Through her medical practice and her volunteer effort as a member of Concussion Focus, an Omaha-based multi-disciplinary nonprofit group with a focus on education about concussion injuries, she positively im­pacts the lives of her patients, their families and the community. 

– Nebraska Governor’s Office



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