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Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health

Top Flex Activities

Program Area: Support for Quality Improvement

Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) and Mountain Pacific Quality Health provide technical assistance to critical access hospitals (CAHs) to improve the consistency of Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) participation and facilitate reporting. ASHNHA coordinates and facilitates face-to-face meetings, site visits, monthly webinars, teleconferences and newsletters to promote peer networking, best practices and data collection related to quality improvement measures.

ASHNHA also supports mentoring programs to match more experienced quality professionals at larger hospitals with less experienced quality staff at CAHs to receive peer support, establish relationships to combine resources, and build knowledge and skill through shared experiences.

Please share a success story about reporting quality data or using quality data to help CAHs in your state improve patient care.

Once a month, ASHNHA, the Department of Health and Human Services and Mountain Pacific Quality Health discuss quality improvement initiatives and identify CAHs that may need additional technical assistance. Through this coordinated approach CAHs receive timely support and resources.

Program Area: Support for Financial and Operational Improvement

To support operational and financial improvement activities for Alaska, ASHNHA facilitates a monthly meeting with CAH Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to prioritize and address financial improvement activities. This has led to financial system improvements. In addition, ASHNHA provides technical assistance to CAHs to improve financial performance through contracts with financial/operational experts that help improve CAHs revenue cycles and operational efficiency.

Program Area: Support for Integration of Innovative Health Care Models

New federal and state initiatives focused on health care delivery system reform are increasing, with an effort to move the health care system toward paying providers for value of care rather than volume of care. Alaska's activities in this area are focused on assessing CAH readiness for value and supporting one or more multi-stakeholder processes to explore new models of care for rural communities. The activities in year two will focus on technical assistance subcontractor support to explore options and best practices suited to CAHs through a multi-stakeholder effort involving patients, providers, payers, Medicaid and other key entities.

Please provide information about any efforts to assist CAHs/communities and partner organizations in the transition to value-based care.

Through support from the National Rural Health Resource Center and other partner organizations, the Alaska Flex Program is gathering financial information to analyze and provide a list of potential value-based care models for the CAHs to consider.

Please provide information about network activities in your state to support Flex Program activities.

The hospitals in Alaska are involved in three informal networks:

  • Quality imporovement (QI) involving the Chief Nursing Officers (CNO)
  • Operational improvement involving the Chief Executive Officers (CEO)
  • Financial improvement involving the CFOs

The networks have monthly teleconferences and two in-person meetings per year where they can discuss best practices and share challenges.

Please describe how your state Flex Program has enhanced its use of data in the past year.

This area is still under development.

Program Statistics

Type of Organization State Government
Staffing 1.0 FTE
Number of CAHs 14
Website URL Organization Website

Flex Program Staff

Heidi Hedberg
State Office Director, Alaska

Background / Specialty Areas

As Chief of Rural and Community Health System:

  • Provides administration and oversight to Health Emergency Response Operations, State EMS Office, Trauma Program and the Office of Healthcare Access
  • Advises senior leadership on all administrative and operational aspects of departmental disaster preparedness and response planning, training, exercise, education and resource development
  • Oversees development of statutory and regulatory changes related to Section operations in coordination with the Division of Public Health legislative liaison, Public Health Directors Office and Department

As Director for the State Office of Rural Health:

  • Develops and sustains planning and partnerships to ensure health care delivery and access to all Alaskans 

State Office Director since April 2017

Tricia Franklin
Flex Coordinator, Alaska
(907) 269-3445

Tricia Franklin has worked for the State of Alaska Division of Public Health since 2000 and has an extensive background in quality improvement and collaboration with diverse partners. She has a broad range of experience working in rural hospitals and public health laboratories, epidemiology, immunizations and grant management. As the Manager of the Alaska Office of Healthcare Access, she coordinates the State of Alaska's Flex Program, Small Hospital Improvement Program, Primary Care Office and State Loan Repayment Program to ensure healthcare access for all Alaskans. 

Flex Coordinator since May 2018

Susan Maley
SHIP Coordinator, Alaska
(907) 269-2084

SHIP Coordinator since November 2018

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,100,000 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.