Help after Hurricane Michael

Posted on Jan 4th 2019 by Florida Blue

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With FedEx operating at 20 percent capacity in Panama City in the weeks after Hurricane Michael, it didn’t look like the CPAP machine from CareCentrix was going to make it to the Medicare member who needed it.

Enter the Medicare Member Services team. On November 2, Jodie MacEwen, a manager on the Medicare Member Services team, sent a text to service advocate Tracey Elder to ask if she could help. Tracey was on her way to the Panhandle to take supplies to her husband, Michael. Unlike many other Medicare plans, Florida Blue is headquartered in the state, and our employees and their families work and live here, too. This is why so many people who work at Florida Blue, and their families, are always ready to lend a hand.

Tracey’s husband, Michael Elder, is a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol who was deployed to the area to help. But Tracey wasn’t in the Panhandle yet. So she called Michael to see if there was any way he could pick up the package from FedEx and get it to our member.

“He was assigned to drive the Florida Highway Patrol Command Bus (Communication for Dispatchers and the Troopers) to all the disaster areas, and he had been away from home for almost three weeks,” Tracey said. “I left a message for him to call me as soon as possible. He immediately called after their briefing. He didn’t hesitate to offer his assistance.”

The only problem was he didn’t have his patrol car. He asked FHP Lt. Aaron Stephens for help, and they were ready to go in minutes.

Meanwhile, Jodie and Haydee Irizarry, another manager on the Medicare Member Services team, had reached out to Darnell Smith, Market President for North Florida. Darnell was also in the area and willing to help. But Michael was closer, so he and his fellow trooper headed to FedEx. Haydee reached out to FedEx to let them know the troopers would pick up the package. She also let the member know a trooper would bring the CPAP machine.

When they arrived at FedEx, the troopers discovered that despite being short-staffed, FedEx had already sent the machine out to be delivered.

“Although FedEx already had the equipment on the truck and it was delivered to the member that day, Michael’s willingness to assist our member was incredible,” Jodie wrote in an email to Florida Blue leaders. “He didn’t have to do this for us, and I am sure he has been at the service of so many over the past weeks, I wanted to just recognize it with a huge thank you.”

After leaving FedEx, Michael asked his wife to let him know if the member received the machine and also to let Jodie and Haydee know if anyone else needed help.

“Michael is a person who is always passionate about helping others,” Tracey said. “He is very modest and humble and doesn’t expect anything in return. That’s one of the reasons why I felt in love with him.”

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