My First Business Trip

I’m writing this post while on the plane back to St. Louis to be posted once I get home.  I am wrapping up my first business trip for my new job with Centene Corporation.  It seems that I will be doing a lot of travel in my position so this is the first of many more trips to come.

What all I, specifically, am responsible for still seems to be in flux.  On this trip, I met the guy who is running development of the Louisiana network and shadowed two people who are managers in the trajectory I am on.  Both of them have 15-20 years of experience in healthcare.  We drove around and met with doctors and office managers at clinics and private practices.  We actually had pretty good results.  I like all of the people in Louisiana with whom I will be working.

I still have a lot of details to learn if I am doing what they are doing.  For now, I am focusing more on learning the contracting/negotiating role and serving more of a support function.  Right now that means developing tracking and reporting tools.  I should have a better ability to do that now that I know what it looks like in the field.  I will likely be traveling again next week and working out of the Baton Rouge office.  I was told that it’s easier to ramp up and ramp up faster if I am in the field.  It will be my second week traveling Monday-Thursday and I think that type of travel could be happening weekly.

I did get to explore New Orleans a little bit.  I’m hoping to be back there (I’m sure there is more going on in New Orleans than Baton Rouge).  I walked/ate on Bourbon Street, went by Jackson Square, walked along the Mississippi River, and ate at Red Fish, Pat O’Brien’s, and Café Du Monde.  I did hear some great musicians, but next time, I’d like to check out more live music.

Travel Preferences

I still need to figure out things like which airline and hotel chain I want to focus on.

On this trip, I flew Southwest, which was great, and stayed at the Marriott New Orleans.  The location of the hotel was great, but I wasn’t impressed by my room.

For the future, I’m leaning towards Hilton hotels.  I’m between Southwest, which only flies to New Orleans (I’d have to drive from there), but has a direct flight from St. Louis, Delta and American.  Both Delta and American fly to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and other airports in Louisiana, but there are no direct flights and it takes longer to earn free tickets.  I will mostly be renting cars from National.  Centene lets me sign up for the Emerald Club.

Anyone have any recommendations on flights – quality of the airline and best rewards program?

First Week On The Job

I recently completed my first week working at Centene Corporation.  It was a good week and I am happy with my job so far.  Working full-time is certainly a change.  I am definitely not used to being somewhere at 8:00 a.m. every morning (if not earlier) and doing the whole work thing all day.  It is going to take some adjusting, but I am enjoying myself after the first week.  Hopefully I will continue to do so.

Week one started with orientation.  I saw the videos and presentations on policies, procedures, standards, etc.  As the week progressed, I got setup with my equipment, sat in on meetings, and began to understand more about what my role as Contract Negotiator is.  I spent a good amount of time on the phone with the Service Desk getting everything set up.  I still am waiting to get setup in some systems (e.g. expense reports), but I am well on the way.

My second day on the job I was listening in on a conference call and sitting in on a meeting.  By the end, some of it was making sense 🙂  I’ve also had my first WebEx meeting in a corporate setting.  I’ve got a company laptop, BlackBerry, and aircard, and should receive my corporate American Express card soon.

As a Contract Negotiator I am building provider networks for managed Medicaid plans.  I have been assigned to help develop the network for Louisiana.  As such, I will be spending much of my time on the road traveling around Louisiana.  I will be functioning as a Network Development Specialist for Louisiana Healthcare Connections – a Centene subsidiary.  It is headquartered in Baton Rouge.

My job has best been described as follows: when you enroll in a health insurance program, you may be given a book of providers (doctors, clinics, hospitals, etc.) that you can visit and which are covered by your insurance.  My role is to get those providers to be in the book.  From what I’ve gathered around the office, there are a lot of pieces to making that happen.  Some are designated by the company and some are designated by the state.  I will be interacting with quite a few corporate departments including legal, credentialing, business development, and more.

The people are great so far.  Most people do seem to be older than me, but that’s okay.  And I’m sure there are more people to meet.  My first business travel begins tomorrow morning.  I’m headed to New Orleans and then around Louisiana.  Hopefully I’ll have an even better idea of where I will plug in when I get back Thursday night.  I’m sure I have a lot to learn. 🙂