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Everyone Has a Story

Author : CareSource

Aug 29th, 2012 | by CareSource

By Elizabeth Stevens and Daniell Ross, CareSource Interns

This summer during our internship, CareSource University hosted the Poverty Simulation to help employees better understand the realities of poverty. Here are a few testimonials from the interns who were able to catch a glimpse of the challenges and heartbreak that some of our members experience daily.

Elizabeth:

“The most frustrating part of the simulation was adjusting to a new role. Before the simulation started, I was a 21 year old college senior with zero debt and a roadmap for my future success. Suddenly, I had to assume an entirely different identity. My character was a 30 year old father/husband with a 10 year son and a baby on the way. I didn’t have a car and couldn’t afford a bus pass, so I had to walk everywhere. I spent a lot of time at work and a lot of time figuring out which resources I needed and how to obtain them. Weeks flew by, and my family’s finances didn’t improve at all. In fact, by the end, we still owed hundreds of dollars in loans and were unable to buy enough food to feed our child.”

 

Daniell:

“The most eye opening part of the simulation was the aspect of looking at something from the inside versus the outside. From the outside my character was stealing money, not going to school, and leaving my little brother home alone. Because of the stereotypes society has built, many people probably thought I was stealing the money to go buy drugs, that I was a dead beat, and that I was irresponsible with my little brother. However, from the inside my family was stretched thin on money and every cent I stole went to help my mom with her health care and other bills. I didn’t go to school but I would drop my little brother off and go try and find a job. And I left my brother home alone because it was safer for him to be locked home working on his school work then outside where something could happen to him. I’ve learned you can’t be quick to judge, and you really need to have compassion. You never know what someone else is going through – everyone has a story.”

 

Lauren:

“I volunteered as a grocery store owner. Throughout the simulation I struggled with my role because I wanted to help people any way I could. I found myself overpaying employees and donating extra money and groceries to families. However, about half way through the simulation I became frustrated because of how poorly customers were treating me. I found it very difficult to stay positive, and it was evident in the quality of my customer service. I learned that with a little bit of empathy and a smile, you can make a positive impact.”

 

CareSource, in collaboration with Think Tank Inc., offers “A Poverty Simulation,” to help employees and community leaders better understand the realities of poverty that our more than 900,000 members face daily. For more information, contact Karin VanZandt, CEO at Think Tank.

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New Year’s Resolutions

Author : CareSource

Dec 29th, 2011 | by CareSource

What happened to last year’s resolutions? Around February 1, you probably forgot what your resolutions even were. This year, set goals that are realistic and can be achieved.

Get Active
You don’t have to run a marathon or climb Mt. Everest to be active. Making small changes can add up to big results.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park farther out and walk
  • Bring your lunch to work instead of eating out
  • Take your dog for a walk instead of watching TV
  • Play with your kids outside for 30 minutes a day

 
For more tips, go to www.smallstep.gov

Manage Stress
Stress can be caused by changes in life such as losing your job, your child leaving or returning home, the death of your spouse, divorce or marriage, an illness, an injury, a job promotion, money problems, moving or having a baby. Stress can cause health problems or make health problems worse. Here some tips for dealing with stress. 

  • Don’t worry about the things you can’t control
  • Prepare for events that you know may be stressful, like a job interview
  • Talk with a trusted friend, family member or counselor
  • Eat well-balanced meals
  • Get enough sleep
  • Look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat
  • Get involved in activities and hobbies you don’t find stressful


Eat Better
Being overweight puts you at risk for developing diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Lowering your weight helps prevent and control these diseases. Make better food choices by doing the following things:

  • Drinking skim milk instead of 2%
  • Choosing whole grain bread and pastas instead of white
  • Drinking water or 100% juice instead of soda
  • Eating baked or grilled foods instead of fried
  • Cooking at home instead of eating out

 

We wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2012.

Sources: smallstep.gov and American Academy of Family Physicians

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The Fight Against Hunger

Author : CareSource

Dec 19th, 2011 | by CareSource

Hunger is a growing issue nationwide. For one in six Americans, hunger is a reality. Those in the most need may be the people we know - our members, our neighbors and our friends.  The average food bank in the Midwest has seen requests for food assistance almost double in the last five years.  

We decided to join the fight against hunger. For the past few weeks, our employees in all four of our offices (Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Lansing) have been collecting food for local food banks. We call it our holiday Giving Tree. Our goal was to donate at least 10,000 pounds of food.

One department in the Dayton office took this challenge a step further and collected money to buy peanut butter – the most needed item on the  food bank’s list. They collected $1,500 and purchased 900 pounds of peanut butter!

The final numbers are in… (drum roll, please!)

We are excited to report that we exceeded our goal and donated over two tons of food which will go to 80 food banks in Ohio and Michigan.

Our employees are truly amazing and are always willing to help others. Find your local food bank and join us in the fight against hunger.

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27 Stories ‘Over the Edge’

Author : CareSource

Sep 22nd, 2011 | by CareSource

On the ground

 I like to think of myself as the adventurous type. I’ve been zip lining, whitewater rafting, parasailing, and swimming with sharks. Heck, I’ve gone to the Middle East on the heels of a ceasefire. 

But nothing really prepared me for my recent rappelling experience. Twenty-seven stories. Straight down. No previous experience. Ten minutes of “training.” Held only by ropes and a few carabineers. 

To be fair, it was all in the name of fundraising. I was thrilled to hear that Big Brothers Big Sisters was launching a new signature fundraiser. As the Executive Director of the CareSource Foundation, I attend many events on behalf of nonprofits throughout our communities. Something new and different gets me excited! 

Months ago Big Brothers Big Sisters unveiled the idea and asked if I’d participate. I quickly said yes—although I’m not quite sure I knew what I’d said “yes” to. Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the “honor” of taking the plunge. That was the easy part. I almost tripled the minimum thanks to great friends with big hearts. 

And then it was the day before the event. My stomach turned queasy. My knees began to tremble. My dreams were quite vivid and the reality of what I’d agreed to do hit me like a brick wall. I kept telling myself, “You can’t die for charity, right?” 

On the day of the event I was optimistic. A total of 65 novices had agreed to go down the building. I was one of the last and determined to have some fun. 

A professional team of climbers took care of the details. Harness, helmet and radio—check. Quick training on the mechanics of a rappel—check. Long elevator ride to the roof—check. Fourteenth trip to the bathroom—check. 

It was chilly and windy on the roof. I awaited my turn to stand on the ledge. The team of experts tried to keep us loose and in good humor, but I was desperately trying to remember all of the signals, guidelines and warnings they’d given us on our practice run. My mind went blank. Minor panic. 

A huge crowd had gathered on Courthouse Square below to watch. I stepped up on a ladder and then to the ledge. They held me in place and told me to ease my way back. I leaned forward. “Lean back,” they encouraged. My body leaned forward. There’s something very strange about your brain saying one thing and your body responding in a completely different way. I finally got it all connected and one foot inched its way to the wall. Surprisingly, the other foot followed suit. 

I was over the edge. “Am I going?” I asked. “You’re gone!” they replied. 

'Falling angel'

Even that high up, I heard the cheer. I think my supporters thought this would be the easy part. I inched the rope through my gloves and got a decent rhythm going as I started walking down the wall. Five stories down I glanced to one side to take in the view. Mistake! I refocused and made a silent pact with myself: “Concentrate. Don’t play around. Get yourself to the ground as efficiently as possible!” 

I heard words of encouragement over the tiny radio strapped to my shoulder. I asked them how much farther. Radio silence. I assumed that meant that I had much further to go than they wanted to share. I continued down and began to hear audible cheers. I knew I was close and, for about ten seconds, truly enjoyed the ride. 

My feet finally hit the ground. A young girl with red hair and a purple hoodie ran over and put a gold medal around my neck. She was someone’s “little” – the real reason I decided to tackle this beast of a building. I could’ve kissed her. Maybe I did? It was official! My knees shook uncontrollably for about two hours. Adrenaline is an odd bird. 

My adventure was both terrifying and exhilarating, but I was reminded of a few lessons along the way: 

  1. The value of trust: Our “handlers” were complete strangers. My life was literally in their hands. I had no choice but to trust that they would safely see me through to the end. I definitely recognized the parallels between my trust experiment and the real world of so many of our CareSource members and Foundation grantees—trusting that we will support them through uncertain, new and oftentimes scary events.
  2. The impact of enthusiasm: My fellow CareSource employees sent hundreds of emails and intranet messages to encourage my efforts. Their words of support and delicious humor meant the world to me. And throughout the descent, my shoulder radio was abuzz with words of encouragement from handlers on the roof and on the ground. They didn’t know me, but obviously thought I needed to hear more than the rush of wind under my helmet. They were right.
  3. The power of doing big things: Big Brothers Big Sisters definitely took a leap of faith. Seriously, who would ever think you’d find almost 70 people crazy enough to take this on—AND raise some big dollars at the same time? With many nonprofits struggling with funding these days, I give them credit for trying a creative route that capitalized on a very big idea. As a result, they gained significant visibility and a new revenue stream.

Perhaps most important, there are hundreds of kids who will benefit from the dollars raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters. They will be surrounded by support, provided with mentors, experience new opportunities and enjoy the kind of encouragement that only a “big” can give to a “little.” 

The rappel changed my trajectory for about eight minutes, but pales in comparison to the change in direction for so many of these most-deserving kids. 

Blog post by Cathy Ponitz, Executive Director of the CareSource Foundation 

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CQ Roll Call Group Forum: Expanding Health Care Coverage to all Americans

Author : Janet Grant

Executive Vice President of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs, CareSource More than 25 years of leadership experience across the health care spectrum including managed care, hospital administration and geriatric services. Responsible for the development of business growth strategies and new products, in addition to regulatory and government affairs and corporate compliance, serving as the Corporate Compliance Officer

Oct 13th, 2009 | by Janet Grant

CareSource is the exclusive host of the CQ/Roll Call group event on Capitol Hill titled “CQ Roll Call Group Forum: Expanding Health Care Coverage to all Americans.”

Keynote Speaker (confirmed): Senator Jay Rockefeller
Panel Moderator: Morton Kondracke, Executive Editor for Roll Call/CQ

This forum will examine how poverty impacts the way people access health care –and how providing coverage is only the first step to promoting healthy outcomes. The Roll Call Group forum will include a keynote speaker (Sen. Jay Rockefeller), a panel discussion with industry leaders, public interest groups, and leading experts on health care reform.

After the keynote address, we will be conducting an experiential learning session where attendees will participate in a “poverty simulation” which will offer a glimpse of the daily realities faced by low-income families.

Title: CQ Roll Call Group Forum: Expanding Health Care Coverage to all Americans
Place: Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill
Description: This forum will examine how poverty impacts the way people access health care –and how providing coverage is only the first step to promoting healthy outcomes.
Date: October 26, 2009
Time: 8:00a – 11:00a

Ask your health care reform questions here

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Sen. Wyden Says He Won’t Support Current Health Care Bill

Author : Janet Grant

Executive Vice President of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs, CareSource More than 25 years of leadership experience across the health care spectrum including managed care, hospital administration and geriatric services. Responsible for the development of business growth strategies and new products, in addition to regulatory and government affairs and corporate compliance, serving as the Corporate Compliance Officer

Sep 29th, 2009 | by Janet Grant

CareSource was co-sponsor of the CQ/Roll Call health care reform event “Health Care – Who Pays and How”. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was the keynote speaker, and discussed what he does and doesn’t support in the health care reform bills. Over 100 people attended the event at Charlie Palmer Steak House on Capitol Hill.

To see a clip from the event, click here.

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The Heart of Health Care Reform

Author : Janet Grant

Executive Vice President of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs, CareSource More than 25 years of leadership experience across the health care spectrum including managed care, hospital administration and geriatric services. Responsible for the development of business growth strategies and new products, in addition to regulatory and government affairs and corporate compliance, serving as the Corporate Compliance Officer

Aug 24th, 2009 | by Janet Grant

Title: The Heart of Health Care Reform


Location: Live taping at COSI/WOSU Studios (invite only); Airing on ONN – check cable provider for specific station

Description: CareSource is sponsoring a panel discussion with Ohio Congresspeople and State Administration delegates about health care reform. The panel discussion is being facilitated by long-time TV personality Eve Mueller, and will include Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, Rep. Zack Space, Rep. Betty Sutton, Director of Ohio Department of Insurance Mary Jo Hudson and Director of Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services Doug Lumpkin. Questions for our panelists will be taken from man-on-the-street interviews from around Ohio.

The primary focus of the panel discussion will be around what our elected officials have learned from their constituents during the August recess. Our Congresspeople have been hard at work meeting with people around the state, and we believe a discussion about what they have learned from citizens, how this will affect their decisions when they go back to Washington D.C., and their overall outlook and opinions around health care reform will make an informative and insightful conversation. Ms. Hudson and Mr. Lumpkin are key panelists as they can provide a look into our own state government’s assessment of health care reform.

Air Dates:

  • Sunday, 9/6/09 at 9am and 8pm
  • Monday, 9/7/09 at 8pm


Panelists at the Event

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Health Care: Who Pays & How

Author : Janet Grant

Executive Vice President of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs, CareSource More than 25 years of leadership experience across the health care spectrum including managed care, hospital administration and geriatric services. Responsible for the development of business growth strategies and new products, in addition to regulatory and government affairs and corporate compliance, serving as the Corporate Compliance Officer

Aug 19th, 2009 | by Janet Grant

Title: Health Care: Who Pays and How

Location: Washington DC, Charlie Palmer Steak House on Capitol Hill

Description: The Health care reform debates have made this recess one of the most eventful in recent history. As members bring the debate from the town halls to the halls of Congress, CQ-Roll Call Group presents a special live event, bringing together a panel of nationally recognized thought leaders to answer the all-important question: Who’s going to pay for health care reform?

The Policy Briefing Live breakfast event series brings together some of the nation’s most influential policy professionals for a lively panel discussion that builds on Roll Call’s monthly policy briefings.

MODERATOR: Morton Kondracke, Executive Editor, Roll Call, Inc.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) (confirmed)

Panelists:
Chris Condeluci, Senate Finance Committee, Republican Staff (confirmed)
Paul Fronstein, Employee Benefit Research Institute (confirmed)
Chip Kahn, Federation of American Hospitals (invited)
Bridget Mallon, Senate Finance Committee, Democratic Staff (invited)


Start Time: 8:30 a.m.
Date: 2009-09-23

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