Bonnie Woodard, Medicare Specialist

 
Bonnie Woodard has been on staff with Elder Law Practice of Timothy L. Takacs since 1999. As Medicare Specialist, Bonnie assists clients and their families with health insurance decisions, questions, appeals, and resolution of problems. In a team-driven environment, she also contributes to long-term care planning for clients including assistance with VA claims. She is editor in chief of The Anchor, the firm’s newsletter, participates in and coordinates community outreach activities, and serves as project director for the Time Out Workshop and other continuing education programs for long-term care professionals. 
 
With more than 20 years of experience in the administration of Medicare, Bonnie was one of the first Medicare professionals in the nation to apply her knowledge in an elder law environment. Before joining Elder Law Practice, Bonnie advanced through the ranks in the Medicare Part B organization. From claim approver, she spent three years as a service representative answering beneficiary and provider questions about Medicare claims. She then spent the next eight years investigating fraud and abuse within the Tennessee Medicare Part B program and overseeing employee training in the Program Evaluation Department. She was responsible for the collection of hundreds of thousands in overpayments, often in conjunction with the Office of Inspector General and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “We investigated all kinds of issues, including check forgeries, over-utilization and false claims,” remembers Bonnie, who earned an AA degree from Volunteer State Community College and completed course work at Western Kentucky University. 
 
Her last five years with Medicare were spent working in the public relations department. She contributed to the production of a wide variety of communications including the Medicare bulletin, notices of Medicare regulations to providers, and statewide educational conferences. She helped to market the concept of electronic claims/paperless billing and provider payments, which later became mandated as a cost savings measure. Bonnie’s ability to translate complicated Medicare concepts into understandable language was a definite asset as she developed training materials and conducted educational events for providers and beneficiaries.  
 
In 1996, Bonnie moved into the managed care field and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Medicare managed care in Tennessee. She enrolled the first person in Tennessee into a Medicare Managed Care Plan. “It was a major media event,” Bonnie remembers. 
 
Elder Law Practice clients are the ultimate beneficiaries of Bonnie’s unique skill set. “I love the fact that my professional Medicare experience can be applied to my work with clients,” she said. “Medicare has only gotten more complicated with the addition of Part D, enrollment periods, and more choices for managed care. It is satisfying to be able to help clients and families sort through the information in order to make informed choices.”  
 
Bonnie’s Medicare knowledge and familiarity with government regulations made her the logical choice to assist clients with VA claims. “I went from coaching clients to actually preparing and submitting claims under Tim’s supervision,” she notes. 
 
Bonnie has been married for more than 30 years. After hours, she loves being a grandmother. “I have three married children and five grandkids who live close by and I am actively involved in their lives,” added Bonnie, who counts time with family as one of her favorite leisure activities. She and her husband also enjoy traveling when they can, and spending time in the country, or on the lake. Bonnie is also no stranger to caregiving. “While working for the firm, I’ve experienced my own long term care journey with my late mother, and know first-hand the anguish and challenges that go along with caring for a loved one with dementia. I’ve been through each phase of the care continuum with my mother as she declined through the years.” Bonnie also oversaw the care of her late mother-in-law. “I consider it valuable experience because it helps me understand the needs of Elder Law Practice clients and their families.”