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Operations and Training Unit

The Operations and Training Unit (OTU) is responsible for various programs, services and processes that are not related with one particular scope as with most all other SDS units.  The key functions within OTU include:

    • Staff/Provider Training
    • State Managed Care Coordination
    • Fair Hearing Representation
    • Medical Transportation Authorizations
    • HIPAA Compliance & Reporting
    • SDS Website Posting
    • Acuity Rate Coordination
    • DHC’s Services Coordination
    • Office of Rate Review Liaison
    • CC Network Information Sharing
    • Financial Accountability
    • SDS Policy Development

OTU Staff Contacts:
Andrew Sandusky – Unit Manager, 269-3448

Kara Thrasher-Livingston – Training Supervisor, 269-3685

Cina Fisher – Training Specialist, 269-3734

Mariya Tuchkova – State Care Coordinator, 269-6840

Teresa Alarid - State Care Coordinator, 269-6796

Victoria Cobo - Fair Hearing Representative, 269-3661

Tammy Smith - Fair Hearing Representative, 269-0037

Vacant – Fair Hearing Representative

Vacant – Services Support Coordinator

Teresa Alarid, Mariya Tuchkova, Pikha Soo, Cina Fisher, Andy Sandusky, Kara Thrasher-Livingston

OTU’s Primary Elements in Detail:

Operations - Focuses on strategic planning and projects that are typically coordinated between our partner agencies and divisions within the Department of Health and Social Services. This element also participates with process, policy and regulatory development.

State managed Care Coordination - In 2006, SDS initiated a pilot project to augment agency based care coordination with some of its own care coordinators employed by the state. While the original charter for this project was to test the feasibility for expanding the state’s role in coordinating waiver services, the more pressing need to focus coordination services on the most challenging and complex HCBW cases became evident. Today, state coordinated caseloads are uniquely focused on these cases as well as those transitioning to and from higher level residential services such as ICF/IID as part of out of state placements.

Fair Hearing Representation– SDS recently added 2 fulltime fair hearing representatives to handle the due-process caseload for waiver and PCA programs. Their role is to represent the division’s position for all service denails related to eligibility, service denials and service reductions.

Authorizations for Non-Emergent Medical Transportation
– Making medical transportation authorizations for Medicaid waiver recipients started on Oct 21, 2013 as a new pilot project to alleviate high call traffic to Xerox. Due to its popularity, this resource is now routinely available. Authorizations are limited to ground transportation provided within Alaska only and excludes ground transportation associated with air travel and/or hotel accommodations for travel to other Alaska communities. Medical transportation authorizations are taken and confirmed by phone 24-hours in advance and then faxed to participating transportation providers. The contact number for reaching this service is 907-754-3500.

Staff/Provider Training
– The OTU Training Element has grown immensely over the last few years to its current status as a model program meeting the training needs of over 700 service providers as well as conducting internal division training for a staff membership of about 150. Our training menu includes eight recurring course curriculums that keenly exploit all methods of training course delivery including webinar, self-paced study and the traditional classroom. Regular info-sharing seminars are also routinely offered to keep service providers, participants and their families up to date with program changes and new developments.