Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Jodi Patton

Jodi Patton is the Head of Payer Operations at Hazel Health  

Check out her LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

I am currently working in the healthcare delivery segment, providing direct pediatric physical health services via telehealth in both school and at home. My primary focus is on the collaboration with Medicaid payers to support Medicaid eligible populations in accessing care where they feel safe and supported and to close gaps in care. We work to provide a seamless integration between children, the healthcare system and education by adapting and working to find solutions.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I have been working both directly and indirectly in the Medicaid industry for the past 6years. My initial experience with the Medicaid was as a case manager for both the geriatric population and for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was able to experience first-hand the complexity of delivering care within these populations and eventually worked at Nevada Medicaid. I started my tenure at the State as a policy and program specialist within medical programs and eventually served as Chief. During my tenure, I was able to successfully work with CMS to change our State Plan for free care reversal and tribal FQHCs. This work was incredibly rewarding and working with Hazel has allowed me to have the opportunity to work on the implementation side of the school-based policies.

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

I am passionate about bringing equity in healthcare and education to children. I am so fortunate that my career is aligned with my passion. I grew up in an impoverished area in Las Vegas and I have witnessed first had the impact that this can have. As leaders in the industry, we must truly keep a keen eye on how to make the lives of our future generation better.

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

Post pandemic, my bucket list will be filled with travel and new experiences. Since that is not feasible at the moment, I have been focused on traversing as many trails as possible around Lake Tahoe where I reside.  There are a lot of incredible hikes, lakes and wildflowers to see in the area and I don’t want to look back with regret that I didn’t make the most of them. I think right now there is so much value in finding pleasure in the moment and slowing down just a bit.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

Most of all, I enjoy my family. I have four incredible daughters and a granddaughter. They bring so much joy and insight into my life. Time spent with them is invaluable. I also really enjoy being active and I read all the time. I like my personal time to be a place of growth and exploration.

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

That’s a tie between Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks. I admire Maya’s clarity of thought and inspiration that she brings to the world. Rosa had so much courage in the face of adversity and made such an impact during the civil rights movement. Both women came up through adversity and made changes to the world. They are both heroes.

What is your favorite junk food?

Ice cream. Hands down. I love all of the unique flavors and artisanal approaches. Growing up in an Italian family, spumoni would be my all-time favorite. I loved going to Thrifty as a kid and getting the cool cylindrical shaped scoops of butter pecan. We didn’t have much money growing up, but we could always scrape out the15 cents for a scoop. These are such strong, happy memories from my childhood. I just always remember laughing and life feeling perfect in these moments.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

I am incredibly proud of my four daughters. They provide more meaning and value in my life than anything. I continually try to carve a path so that they will have amazing futures. I just finished my second master’s degree in six years, both with a 4.0 and honors and working full time. I have to admit I am proud of that accomplish as well. Education and knowledge are so incredibly valuable and a gift not to be taken lightly.

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

Honestly, I don’t want any mulligans. I have learned more from my mistakes even when they are painful and I wish there was a do-over. It’s the ability to be scrappy, pull it together and move forward that builds your character and resistance. It’s all about progress. I gave up trying to be perfect a long time ago.

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

The importance of Medicaid is more critical and even more complex than ever right now. We are going to see a surge in enrollments amidst budget cuts and changing methods of healthcare delivery. We are going to have to be thoughtful in our approaches and work together in truly addressing the needs of our communities. This is not a time of self-serving interests, but to be givers and not takers. We will need to be mindful in our approaches of supporting healthcare business practices while ensuring that recipients are able to receive the care they need. We will need to move and change quickly but with intelligence and think outside of the standard ways of delivering Medicaid services. 

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