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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
    • Fair Hearing Representation
    • Non-medical Transportation Authorizations (NEMT)
    • HIPAA Compliance & Reporting
    • Acuity Rate Coordination
    • DHC’s Services Coordination
    • Office of Rate Review Liaison
    • Financial Accountability
    • SDS Policy Development 
    • EMOD/SME Provider Liaison

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

Kara Thrasher-Livingston – Training Supervisor, 269-3685

Cina Fisher – Training Specialist, 269-3734

Victoria Cobo - Fair Hearing Representative, 334-0890

Darcie Shaffer - Fair Hearing Representative, 269-3734

Tammy Smith – Fair Hearing Support, 269-0037

Laura Baldwin – Fair Hearing Representative, 754-3548

Sarah Bumpus – Medical Transportation Coordinator, 754-3500

Pictured from left to right:

    Tammy Smith – Fair Hearing Coordinator
    Victoria Cobo – Lead Fair Hearing Representative
    Laura Baldwin – Fair Hearing Representative
    Andy Sandusky – Unit Manager
    Sarah Bumpus – Non-emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Coordinator
    Darcie Shaffer – Fair Hearing Representative
    Cina Fisher – Staff/Provider Training
    Kara Thrasher-Livingston – Staff/Provider Training Supervisor

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 in support of SDS programs.

Fair Hearing Representation– SDS recently added 3 fulltime fair hearing representatives to handle the due-process caseload for Medicaid Waiver and PCA programs. Their role is to represent the division’s position for all service reductions/denials related to program eligibility and service delivery. While fair hearings are not considered court proceedings, they are conducted formally with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presiding over each case. Mediation and resolution proceedings are also methods available to resolve disagreements.

Authorizations for Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
– Making NEMT authorizations for Medicaid waiver recipients started on Oct 21, 2013 as a 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 and excludes ground transportation associated with air travel and/or hotel accommodations for travel between Alaska communities and the lower 48 states. NEMT authorizations are received and confirmed by phone at least 24-hours in advance and then faxed to participating transportation providers. The contact number for reaching this service is 907-754-3500 and is staffed M-F, 8:00-4:00.

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.