May 20, 2021
PHP Caregiver Spotlight: Ronni Nichuals
This month’s caregiver spotlight features Ronni Nichuals, Manager of Appeals and Grievances at Providence Health Plan (PHP)
Ronni Nichuals, a caregiver with PHP for over 25 years, is currently a manager of the Appeals and Grievances department at PHP.
Ronni initially wanted to be a nurse and went to school in her home state of Alaska at the University of Alaska Southeast. From there, she moved to Oregon and began working at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in the pathology department. Ronni notes that she moved around in the lab, taking on different roles and becoming exposed to many unique areas in the medical field. Ronni explains, “I really enjoyed learning, all the doctors and medical technologists I worked with would even call me a sponge because of all the information I would take in.”
One day, Ronni noticed a job opening at Providence Health Plan, and although she did not have experience in the insurance industry, she was eager to give it a shot. Since Ronni was more familiar with the hands-on part of the medical industry, she did not know what to expect from a more traditional, office-based role. When she began working at PHP, Ronni was in the Customer Service department, but then moved to Appeals and Grievances, where she has been ever since.
“It’s weird how life plays out for you, but I’ve been here (PHP) for 26 years now and I have never looked back,” says Ronni. “Part of the reason I’ve been here for so long is because of the people I get to work with, from the CEO all the way down to me, I love the support that we get.”
In addition to the support she receives, Ronni has a deep respect for the leaders, colleagues, and friends who have guided her to the role she is in today. Ronni says that three of her closest role models are Pat McConnell, Manager in Customer Service Operations at PHP; Amando Jayme, Senior Director in Health Plan Customer Service Operations at PHP; and Mark Jensen, Chief Service Officer at PHP.
“My role models have recognized my potential, and I think it’s lovely when you find those leaders that will push for more things from you,” said Ronni.
In her day-to-day position, Ronni helps translate technical medical writing into simple terms that are easier for members to understand. Her job also involves listening to members about their concerns and issues, and then finding solutions to those problems.
Ronni notes that it can be difficult conveying such technical information, but once you reach the point of understanding with a member, it is a better feeling for everyone involved. Ronni also explains, “I wish we had the time to talk to every single person who writes in, so they can understand what we’re trying to do and that we’re focusing on them first.”
Outside of work, Ronni enjoys flipping houses (a hobby she has had prior to multiple TV shows making it trendy) and working around her own home. Ronni also likes to be outside in general when the weather is nice. She has a dog named “Vino” so wine is also something she loves.
Ronni gives back to the Portland community by participating in the Safeway Providence Festival of Trees. For the past 14 years, Ronni and a group of volunteers have decorated trees which stand over eight feet in height and are wrapped with over 4,000 ornaments, lights, and garland. These trees are then sold at an auction, and the proceeds are donated to local charities in the Oregon area. Last year, the event raised money for Providence Children’s Health, which provides compassionate care, hope and healing for nearly 112,000 babies, children, and teens in the Portland area. Providence Children Health also used the funds to support various ongoing efforts including the Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children, Swindells Resource Center, Camp Erin, and Providence Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Ronni calls herself a “crazy tree decorator” but says that the festival is truly something she is very passionate about and hopes she can keep volunteering well after retirement.