Audrey Oldright’s professional niche lands her somewhere between advocate and champion-level problem solver. As a Medicaid Outreach Coordinator for Rocky Mountain Health Plans, her job is to help Medicaid members access the resources they need for better health.
Audrey spends more time in the Mesa County community than behind a desk. She receives referrals to assist patients who go to hospital emergency rooms to seek help, and she visits them in their homes to coordinate a range of care needs—physical, behavioral and social. On a typical day, she may meet with soon-to-be paroled inmates to plan their care after release. Or she may accompany a member who needs support during a doctor’s appointment. She could even assist a patient at Mind Springs Health with housing and arrangements for a community provider.
A Mesa County native, Audrey began her career as a clerk at Mind Springs, and has long had a heart to support those with behavioral and mental health needs.
“Many of our members have mental health as well as physical health concerns, and a lot of providers won’t see them. That’s a huge barrier,” she says. “Few assisted care facilities will accept a patient with a history of a mental health diagnosis, even if it’s not currently a problem.”
New parolees also face significant health and social services barriers upon release from prison. Audrey spends time with them before and after release to discuss their needs.
“If they need eye glasses or hearing aids, I can get resources to help pay for that. We also help with housing or medication concerns. They’re only released with a 7-day supply of prescription medication and a 30-day supply of psychiatric medications, so they need help finding providers who will see them right away.
“In Mesa County, there’s a shortage of providers, so we need to help fill that gap,” she says.
“But we work closely with a lot of our community partners. If I see someone with a significant health need that needs attention right away, I know providers that can help.”
She also lends a hand with social needs that affect overall health. “The parole office has done a wonderful job of finding willing employers to hire them, so they have work. The hard part is finding housing for parolees. Low-income housing resources won’t take people with certain felony records.
“I really enjoy working with parolees,” she says. “They’re trying to get their life together and do the right things, but they don’t have a lot of resources or people on their side to help them.”
Many Medicaid members with complex health needs are overwhelmed with keeping up with doctors’ appointments and instructions. Audrey meets regularly with these clients to remind them of appointment times, arrange transportation, and then acts as a liaison when they see providers. She takes notes, gently prompts members about issues they want to discuss, and helps them obtain needed medications after the appointments. She connects members to food, transportation and housing resources as well, meeting homeless members at the local shelter or wherever they spend their days to help them access resources they need.
“Working face-to-face with clients, getting out there and letting them know they have support is so important,” she says. “We can go to them where they are, wherever they feel comfortable. It’s so much more than just getting medical care. We’re meeting them in their environment and letting them know they have that support.”