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Harlan Excited About Her New Role for the Division of Medical Services

Date: 08/23/2018

It’s not unusual for Division of Medical Services (DMS) Director Tami Harlan to walk through barely lit hallways of the Central Office when she’s finally done working for the day.

Harlan, who became director in July, is known for being tireless, still plugging away long after the traditional business hours have ended.           

“It’s nothing for me to walk out of my office at 9 o’clock in the evening,” she said.       

Now that she’s over the division that handles Medicaid, a program that helps pay for the medically necessary services of eligible Arkansans, Harlan encourages her team to be passionate about their work and look for creative ways to improve the health of people across the state.                                    

“In too many categories, Arkansas is near the bottom of the list nationally when it comes to quality of health care,” she said. “We’re one of the sickest states in the country. We’ve got to change that.”

In October, Harlan will enter her 30th year with the agency; the last 11 have been with DMS. She spent the other part of her tenure in the Office of Chief Counsel. Harlan, who was previously deputy director of DMS, will use an all-hands-on-deck approach to fulfilling her vision.

“I want my staff to always think of what they can do, what they can change as we find ways to help the people of Arkansas live healthy,” she said. “It’s the little things that can make a difference. For example, right now we’re focusing a lot on finding ways to improve access to regular preventative care.”

“We also will explore changing certain benefit limits,” she said. “We don’t want people to have to go through a bunch of steps to get preventative care.”

When she’s not working, Harlan, an avid reader, loves to collects antiques. The activity helps Harlan, a veteran of the United States Navy, unwind after the many hours she commits to DMS.                     

The  Arkansas State University and William H. Bowen School of Law graduate, has one item that she says is priceless.

“There’s a large print of “The Horse Fair” painting my grandfather got during the depression,” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s valuable to art dealers – but it’s very valuable to me.”

For more information about DMS and its programs go to https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dms.    

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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