Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Amy Riegel

Amy Riegel is the Director of Housing at CareSource

Check out her LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

I am approaching my 4 year anniversary with CareSource, a non-profit Managed Care Organization that covers nearly 2 million members that live in Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Since the beginning, I have been a part of the Life Services team, which is focused on the integration of the social determinants of health into all lines of our business.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

CareSource is my first role within the Medicaid industry. Prior to CareSource I had worked in multiple roles that helped improve communities for individuals living in poverty. My work included education, strategies to end homelessness, and revitalizing communities after the housing crisis. When CareSource started Life Services they took the bold approach to hire experts from outside of the Medicaid industry – I am very thankful for that innovative vision. I jumped into my new career and have been learning something new every day. After four years I can now speak “fluently” housing and healthcare.  

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

Personally and professionally my passion is for building communities through the lens of where we live. At work, I have the opportunity to create strategies to increase the availability and affordability of housing for our members. I love every aspect of this work, especially the fiscal and social policy related to affordable housing. Public housing benefits are incredibly different from health coverage – the contrast of the two create the perfect playground for my mind to work. Personally, my husband and I also rehab historic homes. Helping to bring new life to a beautiful old structure is immensely gratifying.

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

Almost all of my “bucket list” items are focused on traveling. I love to explore new places near and far. In the United States, I am getting closer to reaching my goal of visiting all 50 states and every National Park. My favorite travel spots to date are watching the sun rise from Haleakala National Park in Maui and hiking Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. On the top of the list for places that I want to visit is Denali National Park in Alaska. I also love to travel abroad, right now Italy is at the top of that list.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

Currently, my free time is consumed by my three young daughters. Our nights and weekends are filled with school and sporting events. I enjoy being involved in their activities either on the sidelines cheering, helping them master a new skill, or volunteering annually as the Girl Scout Cookie Mom. Our lives can be very hectic but it is amazing to see the world through their eyes.

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

I was an Accounting major in college, until my first Political Science class when I learned about Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the South African Truth and Reconciliation process after the end of Apartheid. His work and steadfast belief is advocating for what is right, no matter the consequences, became a guiding light. He was a mediator, influencing others by helping them to find understanding, rather than trying to force his viewpoint. He helped people to find peace within the political system and within their hearts. I graduated with the degree in Political Science and embarked upon my career with the intention to help the world heal from the wrongs of the past and build just societies.

What is your favorite junk food?

Hands down – a brownie. I can skip most sweet temptations but I can’t say no to a brownie.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

Being a mom to my three daughters is truly my greatest accomplishment. I faced many challenges on the journey to becoming a mother, but the process made me stronger and more resilient.

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

I believe that everything happens for a reason, and no matter the outcome, it is what you learn from the situation. I have not always made the best decisions and there are many things that did not turn out the way I wanted, but it is the success and the failure that has brought me to this point. For the important moments and decisions, there is nothing that I would do over.

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

Of course, the social determinants of health. I believe that we are starting to understand how to address social needs within the structures of MCOs or health providers. The healthcare system has an infrastructure that can help to facilitate the delivery of interventions and services. If we can build strong relationships with community based organizations we will have the ability to comprehensively address individual social needs. This work is essential, we must double down and take it to scale. However, the most important part is the next step – we must start to dismantle the systemic constructs that create the social need. We must get upstream. For an example – there are programs that serve homeless members and help them find housing. We have programs at CareSource, other MCOs and Hospital Systems across the nation are also creating programs. In the next 6 months we must start talking about why people are becoming homeless, how we prevent homelessness, and how do we screen for housing instability. The health and financial outcomes will come from curing the social issue, not treating it.

Know someone in the space who’s doing great work and is an all around interesting person?

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