Five Questions with Joel Chavez

How long have you been with Community Health Plan of Washington and what is your current role?
I was hired by CHPW on January 7, 2019, as the new Integrated Managed Care Regional Manager for the Greater Columbia region.  Washington State is transitioning to a whole person model of care, and this Integrated Managed Care rolled out in January to the eight counties that make up Greater Columbia, Kittitas, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Dayton, Asotin, Clarkston, and Whitman. My role has been helping with the transition with technical assistance, education, support and my knowledge of the area. I am working out of a new regional office in the Tri-Cities that opened to bring together our area staff and enable us to provide for our community and members in an even better way than previously.

What challenges do you foresee taking on in your role?
While CHPW has been preparing for the move to integrate primary care and behavioral health, there will still be challenges as providers and care organization collaborates in new ways. I am looking forward to working with these organizations in hopes that integrated care will increase our mutual success rates and improve the health of our members.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in health care?
Like most people in the health care field, I chose this profession to help others, particularly those with limited English proficiency, those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.  At the age of 22, I was hired at a substance abuse residential facility as a “house manager.” I realized there was a high need for behavioral health services, and a great demand for clinicians to work with this field. It was at that time that I decided to continue my education and pursue a career in the behavioral health field.

What is something you have recently learned or accomplished that you are proud of?
I recently volunteered to chaperone a youth group on a ski trip. Some of the youth were hesitant to ski as this was something completely new to them. I shared that I had never skied before either, so I encouraged them to give it a try. Although it was very difficult at the beginning, we kept trying and eventually got the hang of it. It was a great experience for me and it was also very rewarding to see these teenagers learn something new. It reminded me that we can help and learn at the same time no matter what our age may be.

Where do you like to take visitors to experience your area?
One of my favorite things to do with visitors is hiking at Badger Mountain in Richland, Washington. This hike can be as short as 1 mile or as long as 8 miles so we can pick a trail that works for a variety of levels. Badger Mountain has a very steep incline but those who make it to the top are rewarded with a great view of the Tri-Cities.

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