Sep 20, 2023Career Story: Sierra Hatton
Leaning into her academic background in English, Sierra Hatton brought a fresh perspective to her role and found her niche in the industry. Learn about her story.
Celebrating 21 years of service with Morris & Garritano, Luzette Graves’ journey through the healthcare and insurance industry is a testament to her passion for advocacy. Learn more about how she found her place at M&G.
Career paths are often a winding road filled with unexpected twists and turns. Celebrating 21 years of service with Morris & Garritano, Luzette Graves stands out as a shining example of dedication and unwavering commitment to her craft. Her journey through the healthcare and insurance industry is a testament to her passion for advocacy and her ability to adapt to new challenges. Luzette’s story is a compelling narrative of someone who found her true calling and flourished in an environment that values both personal growth and service to others.
Positioned now as our Medical Case Manager, Luzette’s early exposure to the healthcare industry left a lasting impression. As a young interpreter at a World Health Organization Conference, she dove headfirst into the intricate web of healthcare terminology, laws, regulations, and care delivery systems. This experience was eye-opening. “I realized patients need knowledgeable and experienced advocates to guide them navigate the Health Care maze,” Luzette says. And she was ready to become that guide.
Later, as a medical case manager and program manager with a head injury recovery center in Berkeley, she became well-versed in navigating insurance systems. She advocated for services like behavior modification and cognitive therapy, which were considered experimental at the time. Luzette’s determination to help families cover the costs of critical care laid the foundation for her future in healthcare advocacy.
Earning her HR certificate, Luzette accepted a position at a large corporate headquarters, where she managed employee benefits administration. This role allowed her to educate staff on cost-effective healthcare plans and implement integrated payroll and HR systems. Her multifaceted experience continued to expand her skillset.
Upon relocating to San Luis Obispo in the 1980s, Luzette joined the largest HMO medical group in the area. Here, she handled tasks ranging from credentialing to managing the HMO authorization department, further developing her ability to navigate complex systems.
When that company faced dissolution, Luzette worked tirelessly to see out the processes of her work. She facilitated the care of patients, negotiating contracts with the providers, and finding smooth solutions during a time of intense turbulence. “We worked hard through those challenges and I’m proud to say that we didn’t receive a single formal complaint about our services in that time of crisis,” she shares.
During this time, Luzette had been working closely with the then CEO of Morris & Garritano, who was impressed by her agility and expertise. Despite not having experience in the insurance world, Luzette brought a valuable skillset to the industry that paired perfectly with the advocacy promised by M&G.
Her initial assignment with the agency was to help bring a much-needed HMO Medical Group to the county. With her expertise in negotiating contracts and provider networks, Luzette facilitated the process smoothly. Her role soon expanded to include provider network and utilization review analysis.
Luzette’s commitment to service shone through as she filled in for EB staff members on leave, gaining invaluable experience in account management, Medicare sales, claims resolution, and benefit education. Her dedication to working with carriers, providers, and facilities and advocating for patients remains steadfast.
Celia Silacci, Employee Benefits Service Manager, praises Luzette for being a trusted, personal advisor for our clients and their families, extending great care and empathy to those she works with. “Internally, we know her as our ‘bulldog,’” Celia says, “she is strong, stands up for those in need, and never gives up on doing what is right for our members.”
That same care and attention is poured back internally as Luzette invests in her own department as well. Celia discusses how that investment benefits everyone saying, “Luzette values self-care and spends time teaching and empowering her team.”
Today, after more than two decades of service with our company, Luzette’s role at M&G includes running the advocacy unit alongside the Claims and Medicare Sales and Services department. Her love for her job is palpable, and she describes it as both challenging and rewarding. But her passion doesn’t stop there. Luzette also finds immense joy in mentoring and supporting new employees as they develop into exceptional professionals.
In her own words, “Being of service to others and advocating for patients in need has been my mission throughout my adult life.” Luzette’s career journey reflects the power of her dedication, adaptability, and deep sense of purpose. Her unwavering commitment to helping others has not only shaped her career but also the lives of countless individuals who have benefited from her guidance and advocacy.
Luzette looks ahead to a continued partnership with the agency. Her story is a reminder that when passion meets opportunity, remarkable careers are forged, and lives are positively impacted.