Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Modernizing access to healthcare

Background

Modernizing public benefit eligibility systems

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services administers public benefit programs, including Medicaid, for the State of Alaska.

Their eligibility systems have performed well in the past, but the now outdated technology can make it difficult and time-consuming to make modifications in response to federal or state policy changes. The Department approached 18F to help them devise a procurement strategy and develop practices that would deliver better service to Alaskans in need and allow the State to be more responsive to policymakers in both Juneau and Washington.

Our experience with 18F has been much different. They have helped us learn agile development as members of our team. The daily standups have really helped us form a close working relationship with them. They have introduced us to a new tools that I expect we will continue to use when our work with them is completed. - Monica Windom, Director Division of Public Assistance, Health and Social Services, State of Alaska
Approach

Finding the right vendors through modular contracting and an open process

Building on the work we’re doing with other states, 18F is helping introduce modular contracting, agile software development, DevOps, and user-centered design to the State of Alaska’s eligibility system modernization project.

During the course of this project, we’ve assisted the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services in releasing, awarding, and managing its very first modular procurement. To do this, we used a transparent procurement process starting with laying out the product vision statement, strategy, and roadmap in a publicly-accessible GitHub repository. In support of this work, we also helped the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services develop and adopt a CI/CD pipeline, build lean prototypes to de-risk technology issues, embrace open source for their procurement work, and develop their first ever product roadmap.

This project has the potential to change not only the way that the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services approaches legacy system modernization but to have an impact on other agencies across the state as well.