Growing up on the farm, my mother hosted tea parties for my sister and me using a chocolate set that had been handed down for generations — my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mother. We would wear matching dresses, we would have pink and red heart shaped cookies and we sipped our “tea” with our pinkies extended. Almost a half century ago, she captured two little girls on an old 8 mm film camera on a Saturday morning. On my last birthday, my grand nieces joined me for our 21st century tea party using the same chocolate set and capturing that moment in photos that I hope someday will form a montage of a tradition that will span the ages. Our family holds dear to those traditions that make us smile and bring comfort in an ever changing world.
As the Chief Administrative Officer for Avera Health Plans, I am reminded daily of how our world is changing. In January 2014, some of the most sweeping changes will come in the health insurance world when the Affordable Care Act moves to implement Marketplaces and reforms that will extend coverage to those who previously were not able to gain access to coverage due to a serious health condition. These are good changes. And then there are the bigger questions of how we will afford to pay for health care — as individual consumers, as taxpayers and as employers.
Before coming to Avera Health Plans I graduated from South Dakota State University, Brookings, with a degree in economics and went on to attain my master’s degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I then worked in a few different areas of health care management in both private and public sectors. When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my lovely nieces and other friends and family. I have a best friend in my dog Jackson and enjoy spoiling him.
Blending a background in health policy and twenty-five years of experience in health care delivery and financing, this moment in time, is an opportunity to put all the pieces together and help fix the bad things in health care insurance, shape what can be effective and engage everyone in a journey towards good health and wellness for generations to come.