Medicaid Program Manager, Health New England; Age 29
Preeti Nakrani described it as a classic case of being in the right place at the right time. That would be an understatement.
She was talking about her internship at Baystate Health while she was working toward her master’s degree in Public Health at UMass Amherst. At the time, Baystate was getting ready to roll out its BeHealthy Partnership ACO (accountable-care organization), and as an intern, Nakrani was heavily involved with many aspects of that initiative.
So much so that the health system hired her as program manager for the ACO upon graduation. She provided daily management and support of the program, including establishing programmatic goals, care management for inpatient and outpatient workflows, tracking performance, and generating reports.
“I don’t think a lot of people get lucky enough to manage this type of an innovative model right out of grad school,” she said. “I see it as a blessing.”
Today, she handles many of those same responsibilities in a different setting and with a different title — as Medicaid Program manager for Health New England, an affiliate of Baystate Health.
Providing a quick job description, she said, “I’m essentially trying to help patients get the right care at the right time and try to help them use appropriate care settings and support them through whatever social, medical, and behavioral-health concerns they may have. The intention is that this [ACO] model will help people through a population-health approach and control some costs in our Medicaid line of business.”
Nakrani, who earned her bachelor’s degree in health policy analysis from Brandeis University, said she always wanted to work in healthcare — and especially in the public-health realm, where, as she put it, she could look at healthcare not from an individual perspective, but from a population perspective, and help underserved individuals. And she has essentially made this her career.
It’s a career marked by thoughtful and innovative approaches to the task of bringing down the cost of healthcare by focusing on improving the overall health of the region. And it’s a career that’s really just getting started.
Within the community, Nakrani is involved with a number of initiatives that are in line with her passion for healthcare and public health. She has been a facilitator of the ACO Patient and Family Advisory Council, a facilitator of Baystate Community Faculty meetings, an advisor for Baystate’s PURCH (Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health) program, and a volunteer for Baystate Health’s ‘poverty simulations.’
— George O’Brien