Rashmita Mistry is the Chief Operating Officer of UnitedHealthcare Government Programs, Benefit Operations. Originally from Kenya, Rashmita learned early on about the dire need to make health care more accessible, affordable & equitable for all. In a recent blog, she recalls how her life influenced her decision to join the healthcare sector.
- The Kenyan incident: Rashmita Mistry was about two, outside her family’s home in rural Mombasa, Kenya, when she got an early lesson about the basic human need of health care. Rashmita was playing in the front yard one day with some twigs that had fallen in the dirt. Not liking what she was doing, her aunt quickly snatched the twigs from her, as a result, her shoulder dislocated. Her loud wail pierced the Kenyan sky.
- Inability to hire a doctor : Back then, there were no doctors close by, and Rashmita’s parents couldn’t afford to pay anyway. Frantically, friends and family referred her parents to a bonesetter, a skill passed down over many generations. In the middle of a hot, dusty road, and amidst Rashmita’s cries, the bonesetter set her shoulder back into place. The young man would not accept payment, but he was quite happy with the beer Rashmita’s father brought him that day as a sign of gratitude.
- An incident that paved her future: That incident in the hot dusty road of Kenya, the unavailability of a doctor, and the failure to access one made her realize the necessity of accessible healthcare for all. Years later she joined as a leader of the UnitedHealthcare Government Programs team, for helping to develop the next-generation health care system. Her team is busy developing a health care system that gives each member access to high-quality, affordable health care to meet their unique needs.
- Strong determination: Her team allied with government agencies is focused on building strong, local, and market-aligned service delivery programs, using advanced digital experiences. It aims to drive rich consumer engagements, and address social determinants that can affect people’s health, like housing, transportation, and access to healthy food.
- A story of will power and sheer determination: Rashmita sometimes thinks back to that dusty road in Kenya and reflects on how far we have come, and how fast the world is evolving as we build the future of health care.“ As people, we are all same in many ways. Our core needs as human beings haven’t changed. We need to know that we can get access to care, that the quality is good and that we have the ability to pay”, she said.