New Health and Social Services Deputy Commissioner for Medicaid and Health Care Policy
Department also advances veteran employee to director of Public Assistance
ANCHORAGE, AK — The Department of Health & Social Services named a new deputy commissioner for Medicaid and Health Care Policy, Kimberli Poppe-Smart. Poppe-Smart previously served the department as director of the Health Care Services division since January 2010. She started with the department in 2009, when she was hired as a project manager for revisions to Alaska’s Medicaid waiver program required by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A registered nurse and lawyer, her background is in legal, risk, and quality management aspects of the health care field.
The department also named Ron Kreher as director for the Division of Public Assistance (DPA.) Kreher has more than 20 years experience with DPA, beginning in the 1980s when he tested and implemented the division’s groundbreaking Eligibility Information System. Over the years he went on to become the program officer overseeing the development of policies, programs and services that support the division's Work First philosophy, and later, chief of field operations. He holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in anthropology.
Barbara Henjum continues as the director of the Division of Juvenile Justice. Also continuing are division directors Melissa Witzler-Stone with Behavioral Health, David Cote with Alaska Pioneer Homes and Dr. Ward Hurlburt with Public Health. Christy Lawton is the acting director for the Office of Children’s Services. The department will be recruiting for a new Health Care Services director position right away.