Health care community liaison: What I do and how much I make
What are the responsibilities of a health care community liaison? Teresa talks about the rewards and challenges of working as a community liaison for Colorado Choice Transitions and why she is passionate about empowering people to choose the setting in which they receive care.
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My name is Teresa Nguyen and I'm 29 years old. I'm the community Liaison for Colorado Choice Transitions at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. Their biggest role in the state is to administer Colorado Medicaid and we also have other health programs within the Department, but I would say that is our biggest role and what we're known for. I work for a small program outside of that that serves Medicaid clients, specifically who are interested in coming out of nursing homes back into their home or back into the community. So we find many people are there because they don't know what else to do. They don't have the supports. They don't have a community here. Their family is in another state and what not. And so on the younger spectrum, that's what it looks like. On the older spectrum, it is somebody who may have been there a little bit longer than just for one health crisis but they do have family here and they do want to move home towards their end of life and they do want to spend it not in a nursing facility setting. We try to honor that because we really believe in individual choice and the setting that you receive care in is extremely important. My main role is to really engage with our community, our stakeholders, the people who are our clients in the program, the people who are our providers. I interact with the nursing facility staff so the people who actually are at the beginning of the transition process with each resident inside the nursing home and then I also make sure that our internal department kind of aligns with what the stakeholders in our community is saying. I manage 13 contracts throughout the state. These contracts allow us to provide options counseling to the residents inside nursing homes who are interested in looking at other options. To be a community liaison for the State of Colorado, I think some skills that a person might need are some strong communication skills, great time management skills. There's a lot of projects and priorities and people that depend on you within an eight-hour day and so you kind of have to decide where you spend that time and really make sure that you're responding well to everybody that needs you. So I make $50,000 per year. Every year, all of the staff in our office get a little bit of a raise. It's very small and so I don't see a tremendous increase anytime soon, although there are many, many opportunities inside the department to grow kind of your own position and so I'm excited about that. I think my next goal is to manage and I think I'm kind of on track, so it will be exciting to kind of see where I go with that. I am honored and very, very thankful to feel a personal connection to the program that I am within and the people that I serve. I think I'm very lucky to grow up the way that I did with very persistent parents who helped me receive the services and the supports that I needed to get an education, to have a job, to live independently. But I could easily, without those supports, be in the shoes of a lot of our clients. I could be in a nursing facility and at the age of 29, I would imagine that that is not my setting of choice. All of my frustrations or all of my dull days at work are pretty minimal because ... just because I know that we are doing our very best to serve this very, very unique population and to really help people, again, honor their choice. And so that's my favorite part.