09:56 AM

Yahaira Perez's Journey to Becoming an Emerging Leader

By Detavious Hill

Yahaira Perez knows firsthand that health care resources like Medicaid can play a critical role in keeping children and families healthy and thriving.Yahaira Perez

That’s because she was raised on food stamps and her family relied on the government program, which provides for health insurance for those with limited income and means.

Now, Yahaira, Director of Accounting for Cook Children’s Health Plan (CCHP), helps advocate for access to Medicaid managed care programs, spreading the word about how Texas families can gain and retain coverage available to them.

Yahaira recently participated in a leadership program sponsored by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), which works with legislators and leaders across the nation to advocate for underserved communities to have access to health care resources. Every year, ACAP chooses a representative from its nationwide health plan network to participate in its Leadership Academy and learn about issues related to Medicaid managed care programs.  

Yahaira says she was honored to have been selected to represent Cook Children’s Health Plan.

“I never thought it would be such a great learning opportunity, exceeding my expectations,” Yahaira said. “I feel really grateful to be asked to participate.”

ACAP group picture

During the Leadership Academy, Yahaira attended meetings and webinars with CEOs and other top executives, took trips to Washington, D.C., and networked with lobbyists. Yahaira officially obtained a Certificate of Emerging Leadership in February 2023.

Dedicated to serving marginalized communities, Yahaira is looking forward to using the tools she learned, further understanding of what’s next for Medicaid, and being more involved with the organization’s work.

Yahaira has another reason to be proud of representing Cook Children’s: her daughter had successful open heart surgery here in 2019.

“I have been a part of the (Fort Worth) Medical Center as an employee and mother, and the amazing work the staff does is why I really enjoy and love my job,” she said. “It’s a great satisfaction representing Cook Children’s and having the opportunity to speak about the Health Plan.”

Employees like Yahaira showcase the willingness to go the extra mile to help provide our patients and families with all the tools they need, as we work to fulfill our Promise. Congratulations to Yahaira and the Health Plan team. You’ve made your family at Cook Children’s proud.

About Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) Leadership Academy

Association for Community Affiliated Plans Leadership Academy is a one-year program that uses an experiential learning process including in-person meetings, virtual meetings, and peer and executive leadership networking to inform and educate up-and-coming plan staff on important issues related to Medicaid managed care programs. Participants discuss key issues for Safety Net Health Plan operations, such as the role of population health and Special Needs Housing Program (SNHP), how to maximize the impact of community plans, innovation in delivery systems, and the role of quality and data in improving outcomes. Participants earn an ACAP Certificate of Emerging Leadership.