From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Administrator Tamara Prisock reflects on 37 years at DHW

November 18, 2022
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Tamara Prisock, administrator for the Division of Licensing and Certification (L&C) and a member of the department’s senior leadership team, is retiring today. She has worked for the department for 37 years in various roles, and for the last 10 years in her current position.

In her time as the administrator for L&C, Tamara has transformed it into a division focused on the people we serve. The division makes sure that Idaho healthcare facilities follow federal and state laws and rules. Staff oversee licensing and certification activities for 20 types of healthcare providers, including home health agencies, hospitals, residential assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospice agencies, and others. The division does its work in ways that promote peoples’ rights, well-being, safety, dignity, and the highest level of functional independence.

In addition to being division administrator, Tamara has also been the Rules Unit manager for the department since 2008.

Serving the public is very important to me. I’m always interested in hearing from others who have that same commitment, especially those who have years of public service experience. Here's a short Q&A with Tamara, from earlier this week.

What are two or three things you’ve learned in your time with the department?

I’ve learned that the breadth of the services DHW provides to Idahoans also provides infinite opportunities for those DHW employees who take it upon themselves to learn about what the department does outside of their own team or division and who keep themselves open to taking on new challenges, even when it seems scary.

I have also learned that the unflattering perceptions the general public might have about state employees is absolutely untrue when it comes to the people who work at DHW. Over the years, I have worked with some of the most talented, compassionate, and dedicated people on the planet. DHW employees truly care about the people we serve.

Is there anything you would do differently now, based on what you’ve learned?

Over the years, I have become a huge fan of public engagement when developing rules and policies. If I could do something differently, it would be to recognize the importance of that work from Day 1. Sometimes in state government, when we have so much work to do and limited resources, we can view public engagement as extra work we don’t have time to do. Working with the public to develop our rules and policies is essential to ensuring what we do really makes a difference in the lives of Idahoans.

What compelled you to come to work every day? Why do you feel this work is important?

During the 37 years I have been with DHW, I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunities to work in so many areas of the department.

By far the most difficult job I have had at DHW has been the job I am leaving now – the Licensing and Certification administrator.

The other side of that coin is that is has also been the most rewarding job. The work done in this division directly contributes to the health and safety of some of the most vulnerable people in the state.

 As the division’s administrator, I also had the advantage of seeing how our amazing survey staff performed their work with commitment and compassion despite having to deal with the negative perceptions that come with performing regulatory work.

As Tamara is moving on, she is leaving the division in a good place and in good hands. Laura Stute is the new L&C administrator, and she joins the department after working for 18 years with the Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Tamara, thank you for your distinguished and dedicated service to DHW and to Idahoans.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.