You enjoyed food, family, friends and festivities during the holidays. Are you ready to get back to work on your health care management? Does your care plan need a self-imposed audit or another set of eyes?

A new year often inspires people to start ambitious fitness regimens or set specific life-improvement goals. These are noble endeavors that can improve one’s energy and health, but what about establishing and pursuing new health care goals?

Perhaps there is a part of your overall health that needs renewed attention or specialized care. January is a great time to evaluate the quality, responsiveness and compatibility of your “medical team.” You may need to make changes, search for new providers or specialists, or choose a different type of insurance plan that aligns with your situation.

Enrolling in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) enables you to access a vast network of medical providers and support services tailored to your unique needs. The personal attention, expanded resources and dedicated care you receive allows you to focus on being active, fulfilled and independent. HMOs work diligently to forge important partnerships with physician offices, specialists, home care agencies and transportation companies. They also collaborate on best practices to anticipate member services and optimize the care each person receives.

Preserving independence and comfort at home is essential at any age. For seniors and individuals with disabilities or special needs, health care management can become a complex web of small tasks, multiple prescriptions and frequent communication with medical professionals. Dealing with the effects of aging or a challenging chronic condition can hamper one’s energy level, mood and outlook on life. Your care can be coordinated in a less stressful, more organized fashion if you work with your HMO, understand and adhere to the plan, and communicate clearly with family, doctors and pharmacists.

We are fortunate in Western New York to have a broad landscape of diverse, highly-qualified medical providers, specialists and health insurance organizations that can prepare a thorough plan to address your health concerns or ailments. If you are confused or overwhelmed by medical information, seek out a trusted advisor or consult with a professional health advocate who can troubleshoot your circumstances and reshape your priorities to ensure that your life isn’t consumed with stress and uncertainty.

It’s human nature to put it off for another calendar milestone, but take some time to weigh what you need to accomplish first, then make a checklist, follow through to hold yourself accountable, enlist the assistance and support of loved ones and experts, and create a new outlook for your health plan. When you have questions about your treatment or insurance coverage, it is important to be honest about your satisfaction level and direct in requesting any explanations you need.

If your insurance coverage or doctor’s care needs a review, don’t be shy about seeking assistance or a second opinion. You need to have tremendous trust in your insurance plan and medical providers; nothing is more important than receiving the most appropriate, customized care plan so you can spend more quality time with family and friends for social activities and recreational adventures.

Kathleen Velasquez is the vice president of Kalos Health, a local nonprofit health care management provider for diverse populations in Western New York who are on Medicare and Medicaid. For more information, visit