June 2023 Little Rock
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Brandy Cook Richard

Brandy Cook Richard, 36
Chief Information Officer
Arkansas Department of Inspector General
Little Rock
Brandy Cook Richard calls Elizabeth Smith her mentor. Smith, Arkansas’ Medicaid inspector general, calls Richard a “bootstrapper.”
 
Richard, chief information officer for the state’s Department of Inspector General, grew up near Conway and put herself through the University of Central Arkansas as a patient care technician and then as an admission representative at Little Rock hospitals. She worked her way up from an entry-level assistant auditor position in 2014, fighting waste and abuse in Medicaid, to leading the effort as program administrator.
 
“She literally taught herself how to run the analytics and utilize the algorithms to systematically find abuses,” Smith said. “The program exploded under her guidance and Arkansas saved millions of dollars.”
 
For her part, Richard said that as a hobby she always “liked to dabble with computers,” and that knack plus on-the-job training led to what she sees as her greatest achievement, starting up the data analysis unit. “It was fairly cutting edge, and now we’ve gone to national conferences and offered other states training on what we did to detect fraud.”

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