Our Champion for Case Management Story
Blue Sky’s vision was to create an agency to simplify case management practices and streamline daily operations to add value for contracted case managers to better serve Medicaid members and enjoy a proper blend of work-life balance. The team of co-founders (Joseph MacDonald, Ashlee Morgan, Tara Clarkson, and Chris Lanham) met in late February 2014 to create a progressive, social services culture for contracted case managers. Blue Sky would serve Medicaid members better by integrating a mobile system, using IT innovations for its responsive and high-care agency.
Within six months, on August 1st, 2014, Blue Sky was accepted from hundreds of applications to attend XLerateHealth, a 3-month mentorship program and business accelerator for healthcare startups. The agency received valuable mentorship from health-care industry professionals to validate its virtual teaming and its unique business model for the delivery of social services for those living with developmental disabilities in Kentucky.
Using its paperless systems and innovative approach to case management, Blue Sky passed its first test on October 22nd, 2014. The agency became an officially certified Medicaid waiver provider with an evaluation of zero deficiencies and findings, by Kentucky’s Division of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DDID).
Blue Sky received its Medicaid Provider number on January 13th, 2015. Blue Sky launched business with its team of co-founders (plus, Brittney Such McConville) and new clients on March 1st, 2015. Blue Sky has grown through the recruitment of talented case management contractors and Medicaid member referrals to become one the largest and most progressive case management agencies of industry stars in Kentucky.
Blue Sky stands for moving forward and flying in blue sky to be highly-responsive, flexible, and effective through 24 hour/7 days a week accessibility to person-centered, case management services. Blue Sky moves forward to achieve measured progress helping its members live their best lives. This IT-enabled agency uses MyInterCare, a mobile, web-based technology (SaaS) to ensure Blue Sky satisfies the needs of the Medicaid member, wherever it has case management contractors in Kentucky!
I know a Champion!
Meet Team Blue Sky
Joseph J. MacDonald
Co-Founder & CEO
This high-energy CEO and growth-oriented leader of Blue Sky’s progressive agency is dedicated to transforming workplace performance, as a champion for case managers, Medicaid members, and their families. His start-up dream was to create an agency of social service professionals, who could benefit from the use of innovative technology. Essentially, these systems help case managers spend more time with Medicaid members and less time to copy-scan-fax tons of paperwork. Additionally, Joseph’s childhood experiences solidified a core belief to advocate for and defend people with disabilities against bullies, while leading causes to preserve self-directed, inclusive, and meaningful lives.
Joseph received his Master of Business Administration degree in Leadership and Management from Walden University; and, he earned Master of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Joseph is a retired U.S. Army officer, who served with distinction in the Infantry and Public Affairs (PAO). His professional interests focus on implementing a leadership and business strategy for Blue Sky, using the world-renowned Baldrige Excellence Framework, which is the nation’s only Presidential award for performance excellence. In his free time, Joseph enjoys physical fitness work outs; his newest pursuits are Stand-Up Paddle Boarding and taking a Cold Plunge after the steam room at Lifetime Fitness.
Co-Founder, Executive Director, Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Tara Clarkson is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of Blue Sky. Her 10-years of experience focused on extensive work with Intellectual and Developmental community programs. As the Executive Director, Tara supports Blue Sky’s Medicaid members to live their best lives through a person-centered planning process. And, Tara ardently lives by her stated philosophy: “We can go faster alone or farther together, which is what Blue Sky does better than any other agency. Our network of support and responsiveness to member issues is one of the best in Kentucky.”
As a strong advocate for Medicaid members, Tara ignites the agency’s vision to make systems and processes easier, faster, and more efficient for case management contractors. Also, she oversees the Billing Consultants (contractor supervisors)“ for Blue Sky. Tara was instrumental in the customized implementation of "MyInterCare," the agency’s IT vendor (SaaS), to go paperless with tons of required Medicaid documentation for a large case management agency. Tara earned higher-education degrees with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville. Her Hobbies and Interests include: Re-Enacting 18th Century Living History, calligraphy, and textile crafts.
Co-Founder, Director of Business Information Systems
Brittney McConville is a Co-Founder and the Director of Business Information Systems at Blue Sky. Brittney provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust, and secure information technology (IT) environment. Brittney was instrumental in the implementation of "MyInterCare," the agency’s IT vendor (SaaS). The agency’s use of paperless, electronic, and web-based software systems provides case management contractors easy access to necessary documentation and participant management tools from any location with internet capabilities.
Brittney’s goal is to help case managers to spend more quality time with clients versus paperwork. “My dream was always to help the people helping the people. I tend to think about how processes can be simplified or how technology makes lives easier and better, which makes Blue Sky one of the top IT innovators in Kentucky.” Brittney earned her higher-education degrees in Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. Her Hobbies and interests include: Photography, puzzle making, and playing with her French Bulldog, “Phil.”
Co-Founder, Billing Consultant, Contract SL & MPW Case Manager
Chris Lanham is a co-founder and case management contractor for Blue Sky. His extensive experience and personal commitment to overcome his physical disabilities (spinal cord injuries) makes him a highly sought after case management contractor. Also, he's a distinguished Billing Consultant (contractor supervisor) for Blue Sky. "As case managers, we bring a high degree of respect, empathy, and compassion to our Medicaid members. I am consistently inspired by the passion, fighting spirit, and how our agency advocates for the special interests and needs of our Medicaid members.”
As an exemplary agency partner, Chris works intensely to advocate for people to live their best lives with developmental disabilities. Chris is admired for his tenacious spirit to challenge the status quo and optimize a person's choice to live independently in Kentucky. Over the years, hundreds of the agency's Medicaid Members enjoy his annual special events -- "Go Fishing at the Lake" with "Catfish Chris." During the holiday season he is "Santa Chris," providing toys and food gift baskets for those, who need to be remembered, through fundraising with the help of generous donor elves. He earned his higher-education degrees with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Psychology from the University of Louisville. Chris is a self-proclaimed “huge outdoor’s nut” for hunting and fishing; he also enjoys going to concerts, racing remote control cars, car audio competitions, and barbecues with family and friends.
Co-Owner, Billing Consultant, Contract SCL Case Manager
Rhonda Shaver is a co-owner and case management contractor for Blue Sky. Her 20-plus years of case management experience adds value and professionalism, which serves as a model for other contractors to emulate. As an exemplary agency partner, Rhonda works intensely to ensure the agency is a true, loyal champion for contracted case managers and Medicaid members. Additionally, she takes stands to challenge the status quo and to advance solutions that target the best outcomes for the agency and its Medicaid members.
Rhonda supports the agency’s Medicaid members to live their best lives. “I got into the social services field because I am passionate about helping people. I pretty much guide people in every aspect of their lives, just about everything from housing, employment, day programs to medical care, while constantly taking phone calls from people who need help and support. I love it though. It makes a real difference in a person’s life and mine, too!” Rhonda earned her higher-education degree with a Masters of Arts in Sociology from Morehead State University. Rhonda enjoys reading, playing tennis, weight-lifting, and walking. Additionally, Rhonda is a member of the West Broadway Church of Christ.
Co-Owner, Referral Coordinator, Billing Consultant, Contract SCL Case Manager
Rachel Kidd is a co-owner and case management contractor for Blue Sky. Her extensive experience began with work in day programs, which accelerated her desire to be a case management contractor for people living with developmental disabilities. Also, she's a distinguished Billing Consultant (contractor supervisor) for Blue Sky. And, she develops trust and strong bonds with her Medicaid members. “They need to know they can trust me as their case manager. I will advocate for them in every area of need regardless of their situation. I encourage my clients to pursue their dreams, whatever that may be.”
Rachel is one the agency’s most loyal and committed advocates to engage Medicaid members with person-centered and to live best lives approaches to case management. As the agency’s director for referrals, she helps transition waiver participants to industry-star case management contractors with the intent to meet the "Freedom of Choice" desires of Medicaid members to live independently in the community. Rachel earned her higher-education degree with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Louisville. She enjoys spending time with her children, reading, and cooking.
Co-Owner, Billing Consultant, Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Niki Brown is the newest co-owner and an experienced case management contractor for Blue Sky. Niki brings an extensive social services background for her Medicaid members. Also, she's a distinguished Billing Consultant (contractor supervisor) for Blue Sky. Niki said, “I love helping people with special needs to conquer their daily challenges life can throw their way. And, I love celebrating their successes and providing a platform of stability to help them through difficult times.”
Her attitude and approach to case management is equally contagious, as she blends positivity with kindness and respect to most situations. Niki credits her Grandmother for teaching her to nurture relationships with those she cares about, which she models with a kind and optimistic spirit for her Medicaid members. “Optimism is a magnet. If you stay positive and optimistic, good things and good people will be drawn to you,” she said. In addition to more than 15 years in social work, Niki earned her higher-education degree with a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice from the Kentucky State University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her sons and listening to podcasts about finances and healthy living.
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Amanda Armes is one of the longest tenured case management contractors for Blue Sky. She is driven to best serve the agency’s Medicaid members with her fun, creative approach to leading person-centered meetings. “I love to see breakthroughs in the lives of our Medicaid members. Whether it’s gaining the trust of my clients, achieving goals, or, completing a puzzle … whatever the positive, big or small life change, may be,” she said.
Amanda prides herself on being able to use her nursing background to be a strong voice for Medicaid members to resolve complex medical issues. Since high school graduation, Amanda worked in multiple Nursing Home settings: Alzheimers/Dementia, Assisted Living, and Hospitals. Also, Amanda worked as a Direct Support Professional (DSP), in Adult Health Care (ADHC) and Community Living Supports (CLS) settings, and provided 1:1 supervision. Amanda earned her Bachelors of Social Work degree from Spalding University in 2012. She is a member of the Phi Alpha Honors Society through Spalding University. She enjoys spending time with her daughter. Amanda watches Netflix, listens to music, cooks, spends time with family members, and takes drives on country roads to enjoy nature.
Contract SCL, PDS & MPW Case Manager
Nina Pickett specializes in creating strong, vibrant relationships with Medicaid members, as one of Blue Sky’s most experienced and sought after case management contractors. She gains trust with her Medicaid members and establishes strong relationships to help them move forward to live best lives. Additionally, Nina is experienced in Participant Directed Services (PDS), providing long-term care supports and services that help Medicaid members of all ages across all types of disabilities to maintain their independence and determine for themselves what mix of personal care services and supports work best for them.
Nina brings more than 25 years of social service experience and knowledge for Medicaid waiver children and adults. Nina is a key leader with the agency's Diversity and Safety Workgroup: Coping with Racism and Violence; she facilitates conversations with Medicaid members and families to help minimize risks associated with the health and safety of the agency's "high-risk" clients. Nina earned her Bachelor of Art degree in Social Work from the University of Kentucky.
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Denise Maples is one of the most experienced case management contractors for Blue Sky. One of her highest priorities is to assist Medicaid members to achieve their highest potential. “I try to coordinate the best support team of professionals and natural networks who will encourage and motivate the individual, because I believe they can acheive their goals and dreams”.
Denise serves with distinction in the agency’s “Champions Club” by earning performance awards for Medicaid visits, documentation, and compliance. In addition to more than 20+ years in social work, she earned a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Louisville with an undergraduate degree from Western Kentucky University. Additionally, Denise is commended for using state and federal research to help advance social causes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In her free time, she is a founding member of the “Derby City Curling Club” and enjoys socializing with curling enthusiasts, while traveling to cool places … not to mention she enjoys spending time with her dog, “Bingo,” too.
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Laura Frick is a strong advocate for Blue Sky members, as she recognizes the a person-centered uniqueness in Medicaid members to determine the most beneficial waiver services for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She said, “I have always had a soft spot to help people communicate, while being an advocate for people, who often do not have a voice that is heard or communicated in ways others can.”
As a case manager, Laura is a passionate and highly sought after contractor because she builds cohesive teams recognizing the importance of person-centered approaches to design the best lives of Medicaid members. Additionally, she integrates various activities, access to individualized hobbies and interests, and looks for fun ways to inspire physical activity to enhance better health outcomes. Laura earned her higher-education degree with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Louisville. Additionally, she also serves as a case manager for the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Waiver. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, spending time with the family, working out, and watching science documentaries. Laura is a person who loves tattoo art by Eric Brede (2018), as seen with an image of her "Tree of Life"
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Season Harrig-Seitz specializes in the delivery of Michele P. Waiver services for adults and children living at home. As a case management contractor, Season is truly dedicated to helping Medicaid members grow up to live independent lives. “With the help of parents, I get to see many of the big moments and phases of life -- early childhood, high school, living alone, and getting jobs,” she said.
Season demonstrates case management competence and social service professionalism in dealing with her clients, families, and the other providers. “I am a huge advocate for my clients. I will go above and beyond to ensure they are cared for to meet their needs,” she said. And, Season serves the agency with distinction as a member of its “Champions Club” by earning performance awards for Medicaid visits and compliance documentation. Season earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Communication from the University of Louisville.
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Oglanda, as a part-time case management contractor, continues to make a positive difference to support Kentucky's most vulnerable citizens or those born with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She commits herself to create person-centered plans that enhance the lives of her Medicaid members.
Oglanda assists the agency’s Medicaid members by living their best lives and expressing their needs and wants in the best ways possible. Also, she is experienced in Kentucky state guardianship and family support programs. Oglanda earned her Masters degree in Social Work from Spalding University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Kaplan University.
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Stacie Centers is one of Blue Sky’s most responsive and caring case management contractors for Medicaid members. One of her highest priorities is to assist and transform Medicaid members to achieve their highest potential in waiver programs, namely the Participant-Directed Services (PDS). And, she is keenly aware of the importance of perception, planning, listening, empathy, and caring to support the client. “I think it is very important to be a good team player,” she said.
“I want my clients to be able to access the community and do things that other people are able to do. For example, I like to go shopping, out to eat, go to fun events, which is what I encourage my Medicaid members to do.” Stacie earned her Master of Science degree in Human Services from Capella University and a Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology from Western Kentucky University. She enjoys spending time with her four children, while being the primary caregiver for two miniature horses, named Stanley and Ollie, her dogs, Sally and Ethel, and eight (8) barn cats!
Contract SCL & MPW Case Manager
Marsha Wheatley promotes healthy outcomes and hope to Medicaid members, as one of the newest and experienced case management contractors for Blue Sky. She calls “mom” a hero because of the encouragement she provided Marsha to pursue her own dreams, which she returns the favor with confidence and faith in her waiver participants.
Marsha places enormous value on respecting the uniqueness and differences of the agency’s Medicaid members, while providing the assistance to help them live their best lives. “As a case manager, my strength is to help Medicaid members and family members work through difficult situations and solve difficult problems. When I see waiver participants, who are realizing their dreams, I get an enormous sense of satisfaction.” Marsha earned her Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Development and a Bachelor of Art degree in Human Services from Lindsey Wilson College. Also, she is a member of the National Counseling Association. In her spare time, Marsha enjoys watching Psychological Thrillers and making old, antique things new again or finding a fix-it project around the house.