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Chantay Cooper Recognized for Improving Trust and Accountability

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — January 4, 2019 — 4 min read
Chantay Cooper, Manager of Child and Adult Utilization Management teams in Cardinal Innovations Healthcare's Clinical Operations Department, knows how just one person can alter the course of another's life. 

As a college intern, Cooper worked with a boy who struggled with poverty and hunger at home and started down a dangerous path, getting into trouble for stealing. “All he wanted to do was manage his anger," Cooper said. “He had been placed on probation due to stealing food for his family from the local grocery store. School thought he was a problem child because he was always fighting, but they had no idea what he dealt with every morning just to come to school."

Cooper worked to gain the boy's trust, helping his family get the resources they needed. They played basketball. Every time he made a shot, he had to identify a coping skill. Every time he missed, he had to say what he wanted in life for himself. He had a big dream – the Air Force.

“On his own, he completed all his probation requirements and was accepted into the Air Force," Cooper said. “After that, I knew I wanted to keep working with adolescents and their families to do this over and over again. Simply meeting someone where they are and then building up from that can bring so much success to someone who thought they were just going to fail."

Cooper said she continues to be inspired to try to be the difference in someone's life in her work at Cardinal Innovations. Cooper started at Cardinal Innovations as Child Care Manager in Utilization Management (UM). Now, as Manager of the Child and Adult UM teams, she oversees a team of three supervisors and 22 care managers. They cover the child residential team, the child enhanced team, and the adult team – overall covering 24 mental health services.

“Chantay has demonstrated what it takes to help lead a team through growth and change, and need for improved accountability," Melissa Covert, Utilization Management Director said. “She has identified opportunities for process improvement to improve outcomes. The overall leadership within the department has continued to grow through her work with her peers to share ideas and work more closely together to support the overall impact to members."

Cooper said she believes in preparing others to lead. “When growth and change come about within my team, I make sure to communicate as transparently as possible," Cooper said. 

“I try to keep my team positive and moving forward by keeping a positive mindset about things," Cooper said. “I always try to reframe things to find the positive in them myself and project that to my team. I also make sure I allow time for them to express concerns and issues. Letting my team know they are heard is very important." 

Covert said Cooper works to build the trust of her team and develop positive relationships with other leaders throughout the organization to help increase collaboration. 

“Trust and positive relationships are important because we are all essentially one team working for the best interest of every single member," Cooper said. 

Before coming to Cardinal Innovations a little over four years ago, Cooper worked in various jobs in the mental health field for 12 years. She has been an Intensive In-Home therapist, a Therapeutic Foster Care therapist, a manager, and also worked at different levels of care. 

“I have seen families that want to make many changes in their lives to assist with changing their child's life, but they have no idea about resources and where to even begin," Cooper said. 

Coming to Cardinal Innovations meant having the opportunity to help providers, members and their families with those and other challenges. “I am able to provide resources when needed. I am able to review the most appropriate treatment for our members and assist with getting what is needed to make improvements in their lives," she said. 

“I like knowing that I am giving someone the tools necessary to build a better life, to help make the changes they need for that better life," she said.
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