On August 3rd, SDAHO welcomed our newest employee, Sarah Aker, who will be working from her home office in Pierre, serving as the Director of Fiscal Policy. In this role, Sarah will analyze, monitor and interpret the impact of federal and state finance policy initiatives on South Dakota’s hospitals, health systems and post-acute services.
Prior to joining SDAHO, Sarah Aker served as the deputy director of South Dakota Medicaid, overseeing Medicaid policy and programs. Sarah spent eight years in the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) working on key initiatives including executing care coordination agreements with Indian Health Service (IHS), embedding state nurse case managers in IHS service units across South Dakota, implementing recommendations of the South Dakota Health Care Solutions Coalition, and coordinating care management and policy initiatives including development of quality incentive payments for South Dakota’s Health Home program and shared savings payments related to IHS care coordination agreements. Prior to serving as Deputy Director, Sarah managed the Medicaid State Plan and worked as a policy analyst in DSS.
Sarah received the 2019 State Official of the Year Distinguished Service Award from SDAHO. Sarah also received an honorable mention for the National Academy of State Health Policy’s Rising Star award and was selected for the Milbank Memorial Fund’s Emerging Leader Program in 2019.
Sarah grew up in the Black Hills and currently lives in Pierre with her husband Ben. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Political Science.