With our Care Expert Spotlight series, we’re taking a peek into the lives of Wellthy's amazing care professionals.
This month we spoke with Carla Perry, a U.S.-based Care Adviser who supports tasks related to medicare care. Wellthy’s team of Care Advisers are professionals who specialize in specific care domains and work behind the scenes to support families with tasks in their area of expertise. In addition to the Medical team, Care Advisers make up teams such as In-Home Care, Housing, Mental Health, Billing, Veteran Affairs, and more.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do here at Wellthy?
I have been with Wellthy for just over two years. Being a Care Adviser on the Medical team, I work on tasks for our members and their families such as vetting medical providers, researching medical equipment, and evaluating treatment centers. While those of us on the Medical team are not medical professionals ourselves, we take care of administrative and logistical tasks that come with medical care.
Tasks can vary from general to very specific and individual needs. For example, someone may come to us in need of an OB/GYN provider within 10 miles of their home who accepts their specific insurance. First, I would look for in-network providers who are highly rated, call those offices to confirm that they are in-network, find out when the next available appointment is, and ask any additional questions based on the member’s preferences. From there, I’ll share my top three recommendations with the Care Coordinator who is working directly with the member.
How did you get started working in the caregiving space?
I started working in in-home care during college which kickstarted my interest in the field. I was happy to have gotten some hands-on experience which opened up other doors in the caregiving space. Throughout my career, I’ve also worked in social services with families, been a teacher, and was the Site Director and Lead Tutor for a children’s literacy program.
At one point, I worked at a childcare and learning facility that partnered with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to provide supervised visitation to clients. It was a great experience working so closely with families.
What do you enjoy about being a Care Adviser at Wellthy?
I love that I’m actually making an impact in my work at Wellthy, and helping families or individuals meet their care needs every single day. I’ve helped more than 1,000 Wellthy members over the last two years, which is crazy!
My fellow team members at Wellthy are also always willing to help and give advice to one another. We are all committed to our mission of helping individuals and families navigate the world of care, so everyone is very supportive if you have a question or need to loop in someone with more experience on a topic. There’s great depth of expertise here.
Are providers ever hesitant to work with you because you’re not the patient? If so, how do you handle it?
Yes, this happens all the time. To overcome this, we have a Wellthy consent form that members must sign if we’re going to be doing tasks such as scheduling appointments on their behalf. This way the offices we’re communicating with know that we have explicit permission to speak about private information with us.
What trends are you currently seeing in the medical care space?
Lately, there have been a lot of requests and tasks around mental health. Due to the care shortage that’s affecting the industry as a whole, people are having a difficult time finding therapists or psychiatrists who are taking new patients.
There also seems to be an increased need in general care providers, but a decrease in providers with availability. Wellthy Care Advisers typically have better luck finding and securing appointments with providers than individuals do because we know how to search for and screen in-network providers more efficiently. We’re experts! We also search for keywords based on insurance type and can find providers that will take members’ insurance that may not be on the list of accepted providers that an insurance company provides.
If we can’t find an in-network provider for a member’s needs after exhausting all of our tactics, then we’ll speak with the member about a budget for an out-of-network provider and search within those parameters.
What advice would you give to a first-time caregiver?
I’d suggest getting as familiar as you can about their loved one’s condition. Then, get organized – put together lists of their medications (and dates and times they need to take them), doctors office contacts, and any other important information.
Also, maintain strong and open communication with the person you’re caring for, as well as anyone else who’s involved in their care needs. Try to include your loved one in the caregiving journey too. They typically want to maintain a level of independence and involvement.
Lastly, be patient and take care of yourself. It can be challenging taking care of someone else if you’re feeling down, under the weather, or burnt out.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
Years ago, I was selected to be an extra by a film school near me in Boston. I appeared in a NutriSystem commercial as a cheerleader alongside a professional football player (I can’t remember his name)! So, there’s a NutriSystem commercial out there with me in it cheering him on.