UnitedHealthcare’s Ryan May walks-the-walk of compassion in Virginia and D.C

Ryan May was in high school when he started his first job in health care at a family-owned pharmacy.

Occasionally, he served as the pharmacy’s home delivery driver and gained early insight into how access to care impacts families and individuals. He learned the importance of compassion and thinking outside the box to meet the needs of patients.

“Some individuals would have struggled to receive the care they needed without home delivery,” he said. “I saw first-hand how meeting patients where they were, at their homes, transformed their daily experience for the better.”

Today, Ryan is the executive director for UnitedHealthcare’s Dual Special Needs Plans (DSNP) in Virginia and Washington D.C. He recently sat down to answer a few questions.

What are your job responsibilities?

My team and I are responsible for managing care for individuals in Virginia and the District of Columbia who choose a special type of health plan known as Dual Special Needs Plans or DSNPs for short (pronounced “dee-snips”).

It sounds like another complicated health care term, but it’s fairly straightforward — DSNPs are a type of health plan for people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

These individuals are known in the health care world as “dual-eligibles,” meaning they are eligible for both programs. They may have a disability or chronic condition plus other challenges. My job is to ensure we are connecting the dots for these members.

What are some of the unique ways UnitedHealthcare serves members who choose DSNP?

UnitedHealthcare is committed to helping our members overcome barriers.

DSNP members often need special accommodations and care coordination services like, say, transportation to health care visits and the pharmacy. Our members have access to nurse practitioners for house calls and disease management experts. We also offer digital tools like virtual visits.

We have the experience and resources to provide this extra support. We work with our partners at the state and local levels to ensure our members get the right care in the right setting at the right time.

Why are you passionate about your work?

I carry a servant-leader mindset. I’m most passionate about making a difference for our UnitedHealthcare members.

UnitedHealthcare serves DSNP members in every county in Virginia, and our DSNP services are available in all eight wards of Washington, D.C. We have tens of thousands of DSNP members who rely on us across these two jurisdictions.

Much of our work comes down to integrity — doing what’s right for our members — and, most importantly, compassion for those we serve. I tell my team that we have to walk-the-walk of compassion for our members — that we have to have a big heart and a passion for service.

What is the most recent book you read and why?

Resilient Leaders by Robert Dees because of one of its themes: resilience and leadership mean leading with patience and determination. Positive results don’t happen overnight. When is the last time you visited the gym and returned home to immediate, noticeable results?

What are your favorite things to do in Richmond?

My free time usually revolves around family. I’ve been married to my amazing wife for 15 years, and we have two beautiful, talented daughters.

My daughters are involved in dance. Each holiday season they participate in a Nutcracker performance at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center, which is a big deal. As a part of their year-end recital, the dads get on stage. It takes some courage, but it’s a lot of fun and provides comic relief. Plus, the kids get a kick out of it.

I’m also on the board of the local Little League and serve on the advisory board for Senior Connections of Richmond, an organization dedicated to helping seniors maintain quality of life and independence. Volunteering is important. It teaches valuable lessons about service and the challenges people face.

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