Caregiver Spotlight

PHP Caregiver Spotlight: Kate Lynch

20 June 2024

Kate Lynch, an External Audit Data Analyst for Providence Health Plan (PHP), found a team that has not only inspired her professionally, but supported her in her personal coming out journey. Now, she uses her voice as a transgender person to support other LGBTQIA+ employees in the workplace and beyond. 

As a member of the larger Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Kate is one of the several caregivers who handle waste and abuse through fraud risk identification and prevention. By collecting and analyzing the data with a trained eye, Kate and her team can help improve the quality of care, lower costs, and enhance the members' patient experiences. "It's complicated to explain, but it's so fascinating looking at claims data and information that helps us locate the problems that aren't always obvious," she says. 

One of the most important things the SIU does is ensure the health plan and the members aren't billed for services they didn't receive. "Sometimes providers will bill for products a member didn't order or a test they didn't receive, which can make a big impact on the member financially and sometimes medically," she says. 

If a member is billed for services that didn't happen, it could result in incorrect information on their medical chart. "If clinical providers have misinformation about a member's medical history, that's going to have a potentially negative impact on their health," she says. Caregiver Kate and friends

Although Kate works largely with data, she says her passion is people. "Whenever I do my job, the member comes first," she says. "The numbers aren't just numbers — they communicate how PHP and the members are affected in their real lives." 

Kate's desire to support people comes in part from the support she's felt from PHP over the last seven years. "People don't always have positive experiences at work when they take steps to affirm their identity, but the way Providence Health Plan has supported me makes it easy to be committed to our mission of health for all," she says.

Kate began working at PHP in 2017, prior to her transition. She completed her degree in Health Information at Indiana University in 2016 before moving to Oregon to look for work. "When I arrived, I asked around about the companies in the area, and all my local friends said PHP was the place to work, so I applied for a job and started working shortly after graduation," she says.

Caregiver KateIn 2019, Kate began the process of coming out, and she had significant concerns about the future of her career, not knowing how her team was going to react. "It's easy to say that you'll be supportive, but PHP backed up those claims," Kate says. "My director was supportive, affirming, and helped me ask for accommodations, like all-gender bathrooms," she says. Her coworkers responded just as positively. "My team threw me a party on national coming out day! It was not how I expected things to go."

Now, Kate spends time creating and joining spaces where others with different gendered experiences feel accepted and safe. One such place is the PRIDE Caregiver Resources Group (CRG), which started in 2024. The internal group is designed to support and celebrate the community of LGBTQIA+ caregivers at PHP by creating a more inclusive workplace for those who may or may not be out but are part of the community. "I feel very fortunate to be in a place that lives their values. It's not an easy time to be a trans person, but personally, my experience at PHP has been really positive," she says. 

This year, Kate will join the CRG for a booth at the Portland PRIDE parade. "What I think of as living as a trans person is recognizing myself for who I am and being recognized by others for who I am," she says. “That's why being out is so important to me."

One of the things Kate loves about PHP is its promise to know, care for, and ease the way for people. She takes that promise to heart in both her personal and professional life. "Working and living in Portland, I got to know people from all kinds of backgrounds, and part of that was getting to know trans people," she says. Kate said that early on in her journey when she started understanding more about trans people, what they go through, and their experiences, something clicked into place for her. "All my life, I'd been asking, 'what's wrong with me?' but it turned out nothing was wrong with me — I had just been spending my life pretending to be someone I wasn't." Caregiver Kate

Outside of lending her voice and perspective to PHP, Kate finds both meaning and joy in being openly trans. "When people see me simply living my life as an openly trans person, it may help them feel like they're not alone," she says. "Growing up, I didn't know there were other people like me. Now, there is a lot more diversity and a lot more kinds of representation, and in a way, I think it gives people permission to be themselves."

Kate says her experience as a caregiver with PHP is one way she has seen the organization show a commitment to its values in meaningful and measurable ways. "I'm proud of who I am, and I'm proud of the way Providence Health Plan is showing up for LGBTQIA+ people." 

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