Tammy S.

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Tammy S. | Ms. Wheelchair Pageant State Coordinator/Disability Advocate & Clinical Administration Coordinator

The people at UnitedHealth Group are a diverse collection of some of the smartest professionals, and every person contributes something of themselves to our mission of helping people live healthier lives.Individually, we are dreamers, dancers, explorers, inventors and tinkerers. Motivated by an intense desire for discovering how far we can reach, how much we can grow. It’s the same curiosity that drew us to careers with UnitedHealth Group, and the same excitement that fuels our progress toward making the health system work better for everyone.

"My disability has helped open my eyes to people and their unique personal situations. People have shown me acceptance and compassion, and I share it. A phone call can make or break a customer experience.”

 

Tammy S
Tammy S

When did you join UnitedHealth Group?

2011.

What did you do before joining UnitedHealth Group?

I earned my BA in community and human services. I spent some time trying to figure out what I wanted to do, but I kept coming back to the medical field. That was what I most enjoyed, where I could be my best.

How did you come to UnitedHealth Group?

I worked at a non-profit within a trauma care unit for brain and spinal cord injury prevention called “Think First.” I told my story to students of all ages and talked about ways to prevent injuries, such as wearing helmets and seat belts. I did this for about four years before I began in clinical administration.

What do you do in your role now?

I work in the Prior Authorization Department. We follow the guidelines of the Healthcare Reform Act. We contact members within 72 hours, handling 50 to 70 cases a day. It’s a unique role that only myself and two part-time employees perform. It’s newly implemented so it’s constantly changing.

What inspires you about working at UnitedHealth Group?

My team. We are all different and we learn from each other and support each other. I was impressed with the hiring process. It was a lengthy process, but they really are seeking out the best people for the company and it shows.

What excites you?

I love working on the phones. Nobody on the other end knows I have a disability. It doesn't matter if I’m face to face with members or talking to them on the phone, my personality and compassion come out.

What is your favorite part of your job?

When I reach a member and they’re so appreciative. It’s old school to contact someone on the phone. It personalizes the company and lets members know that we’re thinking of them and they’re being taken care of.

What is the culture like at UnitedHealth Group?

There is such an emphasis on diversity here. UnitedHealth Group takes the time to highlight and recognize talent. We have a program where managers nominate “shining” employees and select one winner a month. I won this month! I got a $250 gift card. It’s cool that the company takes the time to recognize people for going above and beyond.

Does having a disability relate to your work?

I know that a phone call can sometimes be the only interaction someone has with us so it’s very important. My disability has helped open my eyes to people and their unique personal situations. People have shown me acceptance and compassion, and I share it. A phone call can make or break a customer experience.

How did you become involved with the Ms. Wheelchair Pageant and disability advocacy?

I heard about the event through a friend. I saw it as a great way to create a title and platform to help build community and encourage people with disabilities to be involved. I became the state coordinator as a volunteer. It gave me a strong connection to strong women who had disabilities. It’s amazing to see these women make a difference. It’s one of the biggest honors I’ve had in my life.

Have you participated in a pageant?

I have. I’ve worn long, flowing dresses that make me feel fantastic.

What does it mean to you to feel fulfilled?

That I am independent, especially with a disability. I’m fulfilled every day if I know I have made a difference. I can be a role model for others with disabilities and challenge them to work hard to achieve their goals.

Do you have a mantra you live by?

Appreciate what you have today cause it can all be taken away tomorrow. I’ve been in wheelchair for 19 years. We were on the way to a soccer camp. While driving on the highway I was distracted by a bee in the car. Before I knew it the car was flipping over the median. I have thoracic paralysis, a severed spinal cord injury. My husband is in a wheelchair and can stand and walk short distances. We were married in April.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend?

I’m a flag bearer for the Sin City roller derby team. I show my patriotism and celebrate other women on wheels, even if they are roller skates. We break down stereotypes. My husband competes in wheelchair rugby.