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AHIP’s Executive Leadership Program: Sara Daugherty’s Experience

by AHIP

May 16, 2018

AHIP’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP) Fellows have the passion to solve health care’s most complex challenges. ELP is a year-long fellowship program and designed exclusively for seasoned health insurance professionals who are dedicated and passionate about the future of health care. They have their work cut out for them as the industry undergoes tremendous change.

AHIP caught up with ELP Fellow Sara Daugherty, RN, MSN, Executive Director of BCBSTX STAR Kids. Sarah looks back on her ELP journey.

In Oakland, Calif., Sara starts her morning looking out on the new possibilities to be gained while at Kaiser Permanente for the day.

What got you involved in the ELP program?

Sara Daugherty: I was looking for opportunities to advance my leadership and influence in the health care industry and my VP recommended the AHIP ELP Program. I was looking for mentors to challenge me to think more globally and strategically by really immersing myself into the challenges in health care and managed care in today’s environment.

What did you hope to learn from the program?

Daugherty: I was hoping to broaden my view and experiences beyond my current and past roles at HCSC. My background in managed care is extensively in Medicaid programs and I am hoping to learn more about effectively managing and growing our duals program and in general about techniques to develop managed care programs that are scalable, sustainable, and effective in improving health outcomes for our members.

How has the program changed you personally and professionally?

Daugherty: The entire experience has changed me on many levels. Not only has it really challenged me to look at what belief systems drive my day-to-day decisions and actions professionally but to also push myself to look at new realms of leadership and influence.

Through our program interactions with the Kellogg Faculty, our AHIP ELP staff, mentors, and ongoing interactions with other ELP fellows, I could gain valuable insight into many challenges I am faced with in my ongoing responsibilities. I also gained a realization that tapping into my personality and strengths as an individual are what can truly make me a great leader. Being a great leader requires being true to yourself as an individual.

How has the program helped think critically as a health care leader?

Daugherty: As part of the program I developed a challenge statement that indicated the barriers we all face in providing quality, cost-effective care to Medicaid recipients in these times:

  • In this era of health care reform and intense societal pressure to balance ethical and political aspects of health care, Managed Care Organizations are challenged to ensure even those less fortunate have access to quality care while controlling costs.
  • We are challenged to influence and support multiple aspects of life for those on government programs by addressing multiple social determinants of health.
  • MCOs in government programs must work to ensure members have access to housing, food, water, electricity, as well as access to quality care and services. 

ELP Fellow Sara Daugherty with mentor Dr. Bechara Choucair

The program involves guided mentoring throughout the year with a site visit to the primary mentor’s organization. What did you learn from your on-site mentor experience?

Daugherty: My Mentor is Dr. Bechara Choucair, SVP & Chief Community Health Officer at Kaiser Permanente.

Dr. Choucair set up a day for me to have access to the best and brightest Kaiser Permanente has to offer. As the Chief Community Health Officer, he plays a critical role in ensuring Kaiser Permanente members have their medical and social needs addressed.

When I met with Tony Barrueta, SVP of Government Relations at Kaiser Permanente, he stated, “Simply addressing the medical needs of Medicaid members is not enough, we all have a responsibility to address the social needs of the members as well.”

Getting a day to spend time with the various leaders at Kaiser helped me to advance my knowledge and skills around health care and leadership. It was an invaluable day and feel truly blessed to have had this opportunity.

What would you say to your peers about this program?

Daugherty: This opportunity has rejuvenated me. Spending the week at Kellogg and being able to immerse myself in leadership and learning allowed me an opportunity to step away from the day-to-day challenges that keep us all from being our very best and do some real analysis of my strengths and areas for improvement as a leader. This allowed me to think about how to bring my true self to my role every day and try to be that very best I can be, even in the most hectic of times.

If you’re passionate about the future of health care, learn more about the Executive Leadership Program and the mentoring, learning, and networking experiences.