WellCare NC

Healthcare done well.

Next Stage was proud to partner with WellCare NC, a statewide managed care plan, to facilitate a leadership and team retreat.

The pre-retreat discussion centered on topics related to community engagement and meeting facilitation. With a newly-formed workforce team against the backdrop of a changing healthcare market, an increased expectation to build, cultivate and deepen engagement as a team was a presenting need. A complicating factor is WellCare NC’s expansive service region, with a focus on cities across North Carolina including Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Greensboro, and Raleigh.

About WellCare, NC
Headquartered in Raleigh, WellCare of North Carolina provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors, and individuals with complex needs primarily through Medicaid and Medicare. As is true for all healthcare insurers, building relationships in community is a critical tool to ensuring efficient and effective care that keeps costs down and increases positive health outcomes for beneficiaries.

The Need
Building relationships with constituencies is a challenge for many service providers across health and human services. The COVID-19 pandemic served to exacerbate and already underlying deficit of trust between people in need and the systems that aim to serve them.

Creating more human-centered approaches to engaging in community has been a trendline in healthcare, with community health workers hired to get boots-on-the-ground in neighborhoods. These individuals, often with lived experience and local expertise, are tasked with increasing trust through individual and group outreach. But, these efforts take time and identifying best practices in the work has been an evolving practice.

Next Stage’s Approach
Following a pre-retreat interview with client leadership, Next Stage reviewed materials and conducted in-depth research to understand the challenges being faced by managed care plans like WellCare NC. That led to the development of an agenda and presentation material that focused specifically on strengthening the company’s approach to community voice.

The retreat focused on three primary areas:

1) Building and cultivating a methodology of trust for organizational strengthening and community-based initiatives, emphasizing the importance of the long game with honest communication, consistency, transparency and care.

2) Knowing your audience and how to engage with various community-based assets and constituencies – corporate, civic, nonprofit, residential and community leaders – while understanding their respective backgrounds and experiences and what matters to them.

3) Implementing group facilitation, convenings, and gatherings in a purposeful, transformative, and impactful way which can improve outcomes and optimize services and resources.

Impact of Our Services
The elements of building trust, outlining community embeddedness, and creating cultural change and responsiveness covered as a part of the retreat have been instrumental for WellCare NC’s organization and team, particularly in deepening engagement within the community. For instance, WellCare’s Community Advocates have been using the training to host successful Community Impact Councils across the state, aimed at addressing social determinants of health.

Shaune Lancit, WellCare Community Engagement Director, expounds further by stating, “WellCare prioritizes understanding the unique needs of the community and is always exploring innovative ways to address social determinants of the health in the community. We partnered with Next Stage to train our team on engaging partners we work with particularly in meeting facilitation. The training they offered to our Community Engagement team has armed our team with skills to engage and convene solution-oriented meetings with various stakeholders across the state.” 

From a Next Stage perspective, Helen Hope Kimbrough reflects, “It’s been amazing to see the team embrace elements from what was discussed at the retreat and carry it all forward in numerous ways. I applaud their efforts and innovative approach.”

To learn more about WellCare and its program offerings and impact, visit WellCareNC.com.