Life Cycle of a Provider

Please keep in mind this was one of many drafts I did for the process but it serves well to show the level of detail I put into my writing. It is now an old procedure and has no HIPPA violations as Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse House and Acme are NOT real but were used frequently as test records in the database system. Please also note that DS3 is no longer used by the State of Alaska as well. Yes, it is very long (80 pages) but the final version was almost 200 pages and then it was discarded by management.

This is simply to demonstrate my writing.

 

M4 (Mass Mail Merge Macro)

This was an incredibly complex project I was asked to help with initially and it became my “baby” after a while.

The whole purpose of the project was to track the results of on site reviews for Medicaid compliance. The project had completed a Survey Monkey survey and was struggling to compile and output letters after additional on site reviews had been completed. I took the survey results and the additional questions that the team needed and turned it into a multi sheet Excel, one for each site (1200 or so site based providers and equal that in Spreadsheets).

The first sheet was an import of the PDF from the survey so it was clear which site was being reviewed. The second sheet contained a macro driven questionnaire for the Compliance Team to use for reviews. The third sheet compiled the data entered into the second sheet and combined it with provider name, number and address information and was used for the first round of mail outs via email as well as merging the data to a form based PDF. The last sheet compiled additional compliance data as a way to determine what additional letters were needed.

The second piece of this project was a series of 8 letters, the initial letter telling them the results of their visit and an additional 6 for various levels of compliance plus one certifying the acceptance of the changes made during the process. These were all written in Word which was then used to do mail merged letters one at a time. From there the letter was converted to PDF and fill in form fields were added.

Adobe DC and Outlook do not do mail merges well and so a secondary Excel spreadsheet system was developed to assist with creating the emails and attaching the PDFs to emails. This system used a contact name, email, file name for the PDF and a static programmed instructional message for the body of the email.

Given that I worked on the functionality of the whole system solo and had no budget, I did however have tight timelines as the site reviews were in full swing when I was asked to tackle the project. I am forever grateful to my office mate who tested several times a day for me and offered invaluable feedback on the needed functionality.

The first run of the full project was tested in house and the Provider Certification & Compliance team was gracious enough to put up with and even make up data to help test the system for me and allow me to work out bugs. The first live test was 300 merges and mailings and out of that only 8 bounced all of which were because of a provider changing their email contact and not notifying the State of the change.

This process was used to generate another 3-5 rounds of emails in order to get the 1200 or so providers all in compliance with the regulations.

In addition to designing and developing the process from end to end, I also built a procedure manual for it and provided the team with training.  A tool to track incoming responses was also built and generated reports for management.

All the macros were written in .Net. Only the actual mail merge portion is shown below. The Compliance Tool is on another page.

M4 instructions
M4 instructions
M4 instructions
M4 instructions
M4 Instructions
M4 only instructions
Settings Pie chart

My Doll Business

I get a lot of questions and funny looks when I mention that my small business which was started in 1995 is focused solely on dolls. You see my original college major was Fashion Design and I focused on dolls as they are fun and easy to make a wide variety of garments for. 

When I talk about the size range I get more incredulous looks since the smallest doll I have and have actually designed, drafted and sewn for is a 1/2″ baby doll. 

The next largest is 2 1/2″ tall and has a hand beaded gown. From there I move to 1″ scale dolls and go larger still into 6-8″ children dolls, 10 1/2″ lady dolls, Barbie of course along with Gene, Kitty Collier and finally my beloved Letha Marie who is 3 ft 10″ tall and wears a child size 3 shoe. A couple of my dolls I literally poured the porcelain for and created from scratch before I dressed them.

If asked in an interview about my dolls I will brag on them never ending as I LOVE my dolls and my sewing work in all those scales. Letha placed 2nd at the Anaheim Doll show, several outfits for my 1″ and 1/2″ scale dolls have been featured in magazines as well as my larger dolls. Two of my dolls won 1st and 2nd place at the Alaska State Fair and were featured in a magazine.

Why am I so proud of the doll business overall though? Each pattern, and there are 100 and counting, takes a large amount of project management. Choosing resources, designs, colors, dolls, fabrics and trims takes time. Budgeting for a costume plus determining the shapes of pieces, testing patterns, technical writing is involved in each pattern for step by step instructions. Some designs were done as custom items for customers and thus I had to work closely with each one to get the tiny details right.

Over the years I also had to learn photography as well as web design and development. I started by scanning my dolls since I didn’t own a camera but I had a scanner. Once I had a camera I started working on my still life portrait skills, they are dolls! I had to learn to edit photos and add them manually to a website. My original site was 50 megs and over 200 hand coded pages. I taught myself SEO,  Drupal, Joomla and eventually learned WordPress.

As for my books, those were herculean for me as I was also a new parent to an infant and then toddler which required a lot of time management and multi-tasking skills to go with the technical skills and all the testing and even book layout and production of the hard copies at first.

Why am I not still at this? I do it as a hobby now as it just will not support a family. I have totes of dolls and fabric and ideas filed away and when I find time I dig out a doll and start making something. I still work on my website when I can get a chance as well since I have photos and such that I still have not shared with the world.

Yes, my business is based on dolls but the skills used to create products as a one man shop are very transferable to a workplace. I use many of my time, task and project skills all the time at my previous job as well as at my current job.

Some examples of the results of these skills show up in the Compliance Checklist and the Certification Checklists which were projects for the State of Alaska.

Things I can do would anyone like to learn how I do them?

Most people know something about computers but only the basics.

 I know how to do a wide variety of things and what I think are stupid little tricks are great tools for someone else.

  • Combining reports and presenting final data
  • Report building in excel
  • Programming languages
  • Quick parts for a group
  • Presenting options for a website and translating between business and designer or developer same for databases
  • Email distro lists

Does anyone want me to write up any of these as tutorials or help their business with these tasks?

Search Tool Business Document 7-2013

When we had a change of regulations in 2013, that prompted a big change in our database, which in turn broke a few things including a web based interactive search tool. This was the business document I was asked to develop upon my discovery of the broken tool. It not only fixed the issue, it added some improved functionality that the division had wanted for a couple years.

Update: The changes to the Provider Search Tool are complete and can be seen live on the Senior & Disabilities Website. Additional changes have also been made to the Submit Corrections form as well recently.

Update 2: This tool has changed since 2017 when Harmony, the new database went live.

Provider Name

ACME Agency

Mailing Address

123 Bozo, Anchorage, AK 99666

Geographical Area Served

Anchorage South Central

Phone

907-555-1212

Fax

907-212-5551

Email

[email protected]

Waivers Served

ALI APDD CCMC IDD

Services Offered

Chore Respite Transportation Personal Care Attendant Residential Supported Living

Care Coordinators

Person 1, Person 2

         

Search based on

  1. Provider Name (text box search)
  2. City (physical) (drop down)
  3. Geographical Area served (drop down) Secondary area? (drop down)
  4. Waivers spelled out (drop down)
  5. Services (drop down)

Providers who return results should have:

  1. Active status
  2. Current end dates
  3. All Active services
  4. Show agents and/or renderers
  5. Show waivers served
  6. Show all services provided
  7. Show mailing address
  8. Show phone
  9. Show fax
  10. Show email
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    All image on this site are ©2019 Sue Darby.

    Photographs are taken by Sue Darby please ask for permission and link to this site if you wish to use one.

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