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IDD UM Manager Tony Martin Sees Change as Opportunity for Growth


IDD Utilization Management (UM) Manager Tony Martin says he looks forward to those moments when he has good news for Cardinal Innovations members about the services they will receive.

“Being able to use the capabilities that I've been blessed to have to help support one of the more vulnerable members of our population is why I do what I do and why I get up in the morning," Martin said. “IDD are the most vulnerable. It's a joy to work on their behalf. One of the things I love is to pick up the phone and say to someone your services are approved for the year. That's the best call I make for the year. I love that stuff. That keeps you going."

Martin joined Cardinal Innovations in July 2014 as an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Care Coordinator. In January 2017, he took on the role of IDD UM Manager with a team of about 20 people. UM Director Melissa Covert nominated Martin for a Cardinal Leads Award in the spring of 2017 for demonstrating exemplary leadership and commitment to Cardinal Innovations core values. The Cardinal Leads Award was established to recognize individuals who are outstanding leaders and embody Cardinal Innovations' core values in ways that have a high impact on the company, its employees and its members.

“From day one, Tony has looked for opportunities to recognize and support staff through a number of transitions, implementing a process not only for recognizing staff within the Clinical Operations team, but in Care Coordination as well," Covert said. “Whenever there have been situations where others may have complained about upcoming changes, Tony has always seen this as new growth and opportunities for the company."

Martin, who studied biomedical sciences at Penn State University and teaches biology at CPCC part-time, said he enjoys solving problems. “To me the most important thing we can do is to meet the needs of our members and also problem solve for them. That is what we do," he said.

That problem-solving mentality combined with his experience as a Care Coordinator gives Martin a unique perspective as a UM manager.

“It's a different experience," he said. “Care Coordination is more the department that interfaces with members – boots on the ground. You're actually able to see members receive the services they qualify for. The part I enjoyed about being in Care Coordination is being in contact with the members."

Now he brings that perspective to UM. “When you make determinations, you kind of have an idea of what the member may be going through. It's helped me immensely in my role now," he said.

That experience also prompted Martin to set up an award to recognize the hard work Care Coordinators do for Cardinal Innovations members. The Care Coordination Department Employee of the Quarter Award is given by UM to someone working in Care Coordination, he said.

“We are interconnected," Martin said, adding that Care Coordination asks for the services and UM decides whether services will be authorized. “We appreciate what they do so we developed that award for them."

Martin's commitment to members is another reason Covert wanted to recognize him. “Tony recognizes and articulates to others the focus on our members as the core of what we do. He continues to demonstrate that if we don't get that right then nothing else we do matters," she said.

Martin said it's important in times of change to keep that strong focus on members.

“Anytime I do anything with anyone – whether it's collaborating with another department, mediating with a family or requesting services – everything I do centers around our members and meeting their needs," he said. “I know we have challenges as an organization that we need to work through but one of the things I try to do is bring my team back to our focus."

Martin said he's excited about the direction in which Cardinal Innovations is now headed. “The communication, articulating, openness and being upfront goes a long way. As a leader, I think that transparency is critical."

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