“Necessity is the mother of innovation, and we have a lot of need in this state,” she says, describing how New Mexico's small-but-diverse population is spread out over areas classified as urban, suburban, rural and frontier.
Krokos, 38, says when she speaks to friends and family back home in Michigan, they think they know all about “rural,” but “frontier” is an entirely different concept. “I don't think people can comprehend it,” she says, explaining how pictures of remote communities in the state such as Mexican Springs available on Google Maps usually offer the best illustration of the areas—where people, electricity and telephone service are hard to find.
Kehoe wouldn't be surprised that Krokos makes her point this way. She describes Krokos as being “very technologically literate,” with an ability to find new ways of presenting data and illustrating concepts.
As CMO, Krokos implemented a statewide medical-home program that was adopted by New Mexico's Medicaid agency and started the Care Transitions effort, which is initiated while patients are hospitalized and continues with in-home health coaching. The program has decreased hospitalizations and emergency department visits by making sure patients understand their prescriptions, have transportation to follow-up doctor appointments and receive any medical equipment necessary for home healthcare.
For her accomplishments, Krokos won a place in Modern Healthcare's 2013 class of Up and Comers.
Kehoe adds that when Krokos arrived at Molina as associate medical director in 2010, she had no background in insurance or managed care, having spent her early career practicing as a hospitalist. But Krokos says having that experience prepared her well for her new role because it combines patient care, quality improvement, examining resource utilization and studying how gaps in care result in readmissions.