An Update and Thanks

Good afternoon everyone!

What’s Happenin’: The Change and Innovation Agency (C!A) has completed site assessments for our offices in Kenai, Fairbanks, Coastal Field, Ketchikan, MatSu and Gambell. The field site assessment for Juneau will occur in December. The preliminary observations by the assessment teams indicate great work is being done by agency staff, a tremendous spirit to serve Alaska's most vulnerable residents, and a positive approach overall. There are obvious "best practices" in many locations and the C!A associates continue to be amazed by the ingenuity of the staff, the commitment to clients and the "can-do” attitude.

What’s Comin’: More changes… We’ve heard your pleas loud and clear. We know that many locations face daily challenges with file control / scanning workloads, telephone call volume, and continued ARIES issues- just to name a few! We are in an environment of change due to so many circumstances. Working with C!A and the continuous improvements occurring monthly in ARIES, will eventually begin to stabilize our work processes. Some of the strategies resulting from the Design Team meetings in January will address these issues, and many more. Please stay the course; your work is important and valued by so many across the State of Alaska. Please remain as focused and be as productive as you can--DPA is one team and together, we will tackle the challenges and move towards sustained improvement.

DPA's statewide Design Team, comprised of eligibility and clerical staff from locations across the state, will meet in January. Through those meetings a new DPA business process will be crafted and will be implemented in all the DPA field offices.

In closing: I may not say this often enough, Thank you! We have endured many changes this past year: MAGI Medicaid training and deployment, changes in the way we have been training staff, Medicaid Expansion, becoming a determination state, adding hot lines to relieve some of the phone calls to the offices for pregnant women and emergent needs, Hospital Presumptive Eligibility, new policy for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents, developing a new scanning process to relieve the paper search, continual changes and improvements in ARIES, and not only a new Director, but new Chiefs for Policy and one for Field Services!

As the Chief of Field Services, I know we have asked a lot from you, as well as the entire DPA team. During this time of giving thanks, I reflect on what I am most grateful for as your leader. Even though we may have faced adversity, turmoil or difficult times this year, we continue to persevere; I am very fortunate for the opportunity to lead and work with such a giving and caring team.

Thank you again for your dedication for serving all Alaskans that are in need. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.

Tammie Walker, Chief of Field Services