Profile: Dedicated to excellence

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Carol J. Scott, Field Operations Manager, Advancing Excellence
Carol J. Scott, Field Operations Manager, Advancing Excellence

Of Carol Scott's many accomplishments, there is one that is a particular highlight: enabling nursing home residents on ventilators in her home state of Missouri to receive treatment.

For years, an agreement through the Medicaid program was in place so that those beneficiaries were sent to two nursing homes in Illinois. Scott, who was the state's ombudsman for 23 years, wanted to help the roughly 10 families annually who wanted to find an in-state facility that would take their loved one.

“For five years, I worked continually prodding. We'd have meetings with people from the industry and Medicaid industry and we'd come up with a plan and the director would leave or we'd have a change in governors,” she said. “We were trying to move a mountain.”

A year after Scott left to become  the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative's Field Operations Manager, Medicaid moved closer to letting nursing homes open up beds to ventilators. Her determination in this quest is evidence of Scott's dedication to person-centered care. 

Lori Smetanka, the director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, says Scott's work is felt beyond Missouri.

“We still refer to some of the materials she and her staff developed,” Smetanka says. “She loved the job and the people.”

Early in her career, Scott worked for the Missouri Republican Committee. That was followed by working for the Republication National Committee in the mid-1980s, when she was traveling so much that she spent just 22 nights at her Memphis apartment in nine months.

The job ended abruptly — Scott says she was fired in a Delta airport lounge shortly after refusing to let colleagues drive drunk — and she took stock. 

“I thought, ‘Where do I want to live?'” she recalled. “And I came right back to where I left.”

Scott called an old friend — John Ashcroft, then the governor, whom she had worked for as a nanny during her time as a University of Missouri student. She returned to Missouri, first in the state's Division of Medical Services and then the Division of Aging. In 1989, she became the state's long-term care ombudsman, which she calls “the best decision I ever made.” 

Scott grew up in Springfield, MO, the daughter of a registered seed technologist. Her mother, a homemaker, died when Scott was 11. Today Scott lives in Jefferson City, MO. She turns 59 this month and has three older brothers. Ted is the one who introduced her to geocaching.

“When I'm traveling, if I have a break, I love to get on my phone, turn on my GPS and see if there is anything in walking distance of the hotel,” she says. “I'm not a big walker, but I love being outside.” 

She's also active in her church as an elder and is a member of the volleyball team. 

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, Scott became involved in Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery, where she now talks as a survivor to the newly diagnosed.

Coworkers note Scott's ability to put people at ease and describe her as dynamic. Scott says she'll continue to hit the road enthusiastically for her job.

“One-hundred percent of the organizations have the right idea. They just have different thoughts and ideas how to get there. [Advancing Excellence] has an amazing ability to make a difference.”



First time volunteering for John Ashcroft; becomes children's nanny four years later


Graduates from the University of Missouri with a bachelor's degree 

in public 



Starts work with the Missouri Republican Party, later joins Republican National Committee


Leaves Missouri's Department of Social Service's Division of Medical Services for state's Division of Aging


Serves on the board of Central Missouri Food Bank 


Completes tenure as president of National Association of State Long-Term Ombudsman Programs


Begins as Advancing Excellence's Field Operations Manager