North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that Medicaid strategist and policy expert Sarah Aker has been selected to lead its Medical Services Division, which administers Medicaid services, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), autism services and other related health services that benefit North Dakotans.
“We’re excited for Sarah to join our team, she brings valuable expertise from the Medicaid health care providers’ perspective, Medicaid agency operations and public policy development,” said HHS Commissioner Chris Jones. “Because of this experience, Sarah will be a valuable addition on the new Health Care Task Force, which will study North Dakota Medicaid benefits and hospital payment rates by request of the legislature.”
Aker joins the department after serving as the Medicaid director for the South Dakota Department of Social Services overseeing program and policy development, claims payment, provider enrollment and program integrity. She also led the implementation of South Dakota’s Medicaid Expansion program.
Her experience also includes working as the director of fiscal policy for the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations. In this role, she analyzed the impacts federal and state financial policy initiatives had on hospitals, health systems, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other post-acute care services.
In making this announcement, Jones expressed gratitude to Krista Fremming, interim Medicaid director, for her leadership and support of the Medical Services Division over the past several months.
Aker earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and political science from the University of South Dakota. She will relocate to Bismarck in the coming months and join the HHS team on July 24.