Tag Archives: thankful

Team Up for Greatness

Vantage Point: To Be A Star

There is a patch of I-5 South, just as you turn the bend, where The Tacoma Dome comes into view, and the sight always makes my heart jump into my throat. Opened in 1983, The Dome has hosted major concerts, professional sports competitions, and events. Most importantly for me, it’s also the place where Washington state high school athletes compete at the championship level.

My boys got to experience the honor of standing up among their peers as a part of a team of excellence on December 7, 2008, when Cashmere won the 1A High School Football State Championship. It’s a memory that I, and most of the town, which filled one whole side of the dome, will never forget.

This accomplishment started with the players, who had been honing their skills since grade school. It also took a school backing them with quality equipment and coaching, a town believing in them, and parents dedicated to supporting their goals. The second-string players, who only got a few seconds on the field that day, were just as important as the starters. In practice, they were the ones who helped the starters sharpen their skills. To say the least, they were all stars that day.

I am fortunate in my professional work to also be part of an amazing team. A team, which I say with great pride, whose Washington Medicare plans just earned 4.5 out of 5 stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.*

These Star Ratings measure more than just customer service. They also measure help managing chronic conditions, member complaints, working with providers to help members stay healthy, and members’ overall experience with the plan.

This achievement means a lot. It validates our efforts at Health Alliance and lets us know we are taking good care of our members. But just like a championship football team, we respect this is not an individual endeavor, and we appreciate all of you for sharing access to your resources and welcoming us into your communities. There is no way we could have accomplished this without your support and collaboration. As we share this esteemed recognition with you, please know, we sincerely count you as a member of our team, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.

 

*Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star Rating System. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.

Fall Prevention and Changing with the Times

Vantage Point: When the Leaves Begin to Change

There is a line in the song “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock that always reminds me of this time of year, “Nothing seems as strange as when the leaves begin to change.”

For me, November is always a time for reflection, and as I transition from road warrior to spending more time in the office, what comes to mind is how my work in Medicare teaches me so much about staying young.

Last September, Karen Bruggman from Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) kindly invited me to Tonasket to celebrate Geriatric Fall Prevention Week with Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL).

As I exercised with a group of 45 women, there was so much laughter that it reminded me of the circle of friends I ride horses with and gave me hope that you can find sisterhood at any age. After the class, the woman next to me, who could touch her toes when I could not, told me she was 92 years old and that doing SAIL for the last 6 years had kept her young.

At the Roaring ‘20s Dance, hosted by the Wenatchee Senior Activity Center, I sat next to a couple celebrating their one-year anniversary. It was their second chance at true love, and as they showed me wedding pictures from their iPhone, I couldn’t help but notice that the glow of their special day was just as youthful, beautiful, and poignant as my own son’s recent wedding.

While attending an open house at the Ephrata Senior Center (ESC), the room buzzed with purpose and excitement. The reinvented ESC and its members are busier than ever since they opened a catering company. Their creative marketing and energy helped renew my zest for my own work and showed me that at any period of life, opportunities are limitless.

Recently, while talking with a woman who proudly told me how healthy she was for being in her eighties, she also gave me a warning, “To become elderly falls as fast as night.”

This brought to mind another line from the song, “Or how we thought these days would never end.”

During this Thanksgiving, a big part of what I will be thankful for is my work in Medicare because it fills my heart with appreciation and teaches me to value what I have today and to be hopeful for what will come when the leaves of my own life begin to change.

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.