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Health Break: What is a care manager and how can they help me?

A UPMC Health Plan care manager talks with a  member over the phone

A podcast for UPMC Health Plan members, Health Break is your quick guide to caring for your mental and physical health, prioritizing wellness, and making the most of your health insurance plan.

Episode 32: Take a Health Break with Mandi Batykefer

Prescription for Wellness care manager Mandi Batykefer takes a Health Break to tell us about who the care managers are at UPMC Health Plan, and what they do to support members. 


Episode transcript:

Camille: Welcome to Health Break by UPMC Health Plan, your quick guide to health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan. I’m your host, Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith. I help to oversee the quality of the plans and programs we offer at UPMC Health Plan.

Angelo: And I’m your co-host, Angelo Bartic. I’m a health coach on our Prescription for Wellness team who works with our members on making healthy lifestyle habits and setting goals. This is your…Health Break.

Hey, it’s Angelo Bartic. We’re joined today by telephonic care manager Mandi Batykefer to learn more about the care managers at UPMC Health Plan and what they do to support members. Mandi, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.

Mandi: Thank you for having me. I’m so glad to be here.

Angelo: We’re excited to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about, what is a care manager?

Mandi: A care manager is a health care professional that works to support members in meeting their health care goals and effectively navigate the health care system. One of the ways that we’re able to engage with our members is through Prescription for Wellness. Prescription for Wellness is a physician-prescribed health coaching program. Providers can write a prescription for their patients to speak with a health coach like you, Angelo, for a variety of reasons such as diabetes management, hypertension, weight management, and stress management. We really see this as a prescription, just like they would write a prescription for a medication or for physical therapy. After engagement, the care manager is also able to provide feedback to the provider. Members can also self-refer to care management if they find themselves needing some additional support.

Angelo: So who are care managers, and tell me a little bit about the background that they have.

Mandi: Sure. So care managers are typically nurses or social workers. We come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of us have had extensive clinical experience in the hospitals, home care, nursing homes, and also in physician offices.

Angelo: Mandi, you’ve done a great job of telling us what care managers are and who they are. Can you tell me a little bit about what they help with?

Mandi: We can help with a lot of different things. We can help to provide care coordination such as locating providers, getting connected with appropriate providers and services, scheduling appointments, medication management, including referrals to our health plan pharmacists and medication prior authorizations. We also educate about disease processes and disease prevention, as well as suggested lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and stress management. We help to facilitate provider communication. For example, many members are not able to see their doctors in a timely manner, and care managers can help to bridge that gap by identifying concerns early on that may negatively impact a member. This can assist with minimizing trips to the emergency room and even hospital admissions. We also helped to remove certain barriers for members such as transportation needs, medication costs, and food insecurity.

Angelo: It sounds like care managers can bring a lot of value to our members. Can you give any examples on how you personally have helped our members?

Mandi: Overall, we really help them to make sense of difficult and challenging situations. When members and their families are catapulted into the health care system due to catastrophic illness or diagnosis, such as cancer or other life-changing event, the members often feeling overwhelmed and unable to articulate what questions they have to ask providers. So care managers can help members to verbalize their fears, concerns, and transform medical terminology into easily understood concepts so members can make the most informed decisions that could potentially impact the rest of their lives.

Angelo: Mandi, thank you so much for taking a Health Break with us, talking about care managers and most importantly, what they do to support our members.

Mandi: Thank you for having me.

Angelo: Get connected to a care manager through Prescription for Wellness. Check the show notes for ways to get started.

Find show notes and more information at Join us as we continue exploring health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan in the next episode of Health Break.

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes. It is not medical care or advice. Individuals in need of medical care should consult their personal care provider. Views and opinions expressed by the hosts and guests are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of UPMC Health Plan and its employees.

  • Learn about Prescription for Wellness 
  • To get started with Prescription for Wellness, choose one of the following options: 
    • For a virtual visit on UPMC AnywhereCare, log in or register for a UPMC AnywhereCare account. Once you are logged in, select the Health Navigation tile. If a navigator is available, you can choose Visit Now. If a navigator is not available, you can schedule a visit. 
    • To start by phone, call 1-844-822-3367. TTY users should call 711. Help is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
    • Ask your health care provider to set you up with a Prescription for Wellness. 
    • To use an app, download RxWell* from the App Store or Google Play™. You can access several helpful digital health coaching programs when it’s convenient for you. 

About Mandi Batykefer: 

Headshot photo of Prescription for Wellness care manager Mandi Batylefer

Mandi Batykefer, RN, is a passionate and dedicated nurse with almost 20 years of experience in a variety of medical settings, including ICU, home care, and private practice. She has been with UPMC Health Plan as a care manager since 2018. Mandi is committed to providing members with the knowledge and support to meet their health care goals. Her special interests include how nutrition, exercise and management of stress can help control chronic medical conditions. When she is not assisting her members, she enjoys cooking for her family, strength training, and spending time outside. 

About Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith: 

Headshot photo of Health Break co-host Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith

Camille Clarke-Smith, EdD, is a program director in the Quality Improvement, Medicare Stars Department at UPMC Health Plan, where she leads the Medicare Faith and Wellness Program, a 3- to 12-week health and wellness challenge. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Transforming the Health of African American Women (THAW) Inc. She earned a doctorate in health and physical activity education from the University of Pittsburgh in addition to a master’s in exercise science and a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Carlow University. 

About Angelo Bartic: 

Headshot photo of Health Break co-host Angelo Bartic

Angelo Bartic is a health coach at UPMC Health Plan, working with members on creating sustainable lifestyle changes in weight management, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation, and stress management. Beginning as a personal trainer, he quickly connected with his passion for helping others lead healthier lives. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and is currently pursuing his master’s in public health. Maintaining his personal training certification, Angelo recently became a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. He enjoys time with his husband and friends participating in recreational sports (kickball and dodgeball) through an LGBTQIA+ sports organization called Stonewall Sports.

*RxWell is available to UPMC Health Plan members who are 16 years of age or older