Press Releases

Dr. Lancaster Among Medicaid Provider Award Recipients

The inaugural honorees of the Nebraska Medicaid Provider Awards are:

Published: June 18, 2019

On Monday, Governor Pete Ricketts; Dannette R. Smith, CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Matthew Van Patton, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, presented the inaugural Nebraska Medicaid Provider Awards. The awards recognized three outstanding providers within Heritage Health, Nebraska’s Medicaid managed care program.

“The inaugural winners of the Nebraska Medicaid Provider Awards provide outstanding customer service to our clients,” said Governor Ricketts.  “They exemplify our mission to create opportunity through more effective, more efficient, and customer-focused state government.  Thank you to Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ Sakowski, Dr. Sharon Hammer, and Dr. Rebecca Lancaster for their dedication and service to the people of Nebraska through our Medicaid program.”

Gov. Ricketts chose one nominated provider from each of Heritage Health’s three managed care organizations’ (MCOs) networks.  Those MCOs are United Healthcare Community Plan of Nebraska, Nebraska Total Care, and WellCare of Nebraska.  Award winners have demonstrated exceptional and measurable contributions to clinical practice in the Medicaid population.

“The Nebraska Medicaid Provider Awards recognize Nebraska healthcare professionals who have consistently delivered excellence,” said Dr. Matthew Van Patton.  “Each has engaged in performance improvement processes that further the work of achieving the quadruple aim: improve the health of patients; improve patient experience of care; improve the cost effectiveness of care; or improve provider and staff experience.”

The inaugural honorees of the Nebraska Medicaid Provider Awards are:

Dr. Rebecca Lancaster, MD:  Nominated by Nebraska Total Care, Dr. Lancaster is a family physician with Methodist Physicians Clinic.  A graduate of Creighton University and Creighton University School of Medicine, Dr. Lancaster has served patients in the Omaha area for 11 years.  She is the 2018 recipient of the Centene/Nebraska Total Care Physician Summit Award for quality in health care. 

Dr. Lancaster meets the needs of Medicaid families through provision of high-quality health care in the primary care setting.  Dr. Lancaster’s special interest in concussion management brings expertise to young Nebraska Medicaid members who participate in youth, high school, and post-secondary sports programs.  Through her medical practice and her volunteer effort as a member of Concussion Focus, an Omaha-based multi-disciplinary non-profit group with a focus on education about concussion injuries, she positively impacts the lives of her patients, their families, and her community.

Dr. Henry (Hank) Sakowski, MD:  Nominated by UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Nebraska, Dr. Sakowski is an internal medicine specialist with CHI Health Clinic, a faculty member at the Creighton University School of Medicine, and medical director for the clinically integrated network known as CHI Health Partners. 

Dr. Sakowski was instrumental in the collaborative work between CHI Health and UnitedHealthcare to identify the health risks or high users within a population of Medicaid patients.  Care coordinators at the hospitals and clinics worked with patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure to complete a care plan.  Both organizations began to understand the disease burden that patients were experiencing and supported Medicaid members with information to improve their health.

Dr. Sharon Hammer, MD:  Nominated by WellCare of Nebraska, Dr. Hammer is an accomplished psychiatrist who is currently an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).  In practice for more than 26 years, Dr. Hammer joined UNMC in 2005 with the goal of establishing a specialized psychiatric service arm for reproductive psychiatric illnesses.

At UNMC, it is estimated that over half of pregnant women are covered by Medicaid during pregnancy and the postpartum period.  Dr. Hammer and her colleagues offer interventions for Medicaid high-risk women, often with pre-existing, but untreated, mental illnesses prior to pregnancy.  Dr. Hammer also serves as a provider advisor to WellCare, aiding the MCO’s efforts in enhancing services to pregnant women and to children.