Service providers struggle amid state grant delay

  • Saturday, August 1, 2015 9:48pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage methadone clinic is turning people away as they wait for the state to send its grant award notice for the coming fiscal year.

Some service providers are waiting for the Department of Health and Social Services to distribute more than half of its grants, a process delayed by the state’s late budget and new accounting program.

Almost all grants had been given out by this time last year.

Narcotic Drug Treatment Center Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Stukey says the clinic isn’t admitting patients, including priority individuals like pregnant women.

“We’re just shutting down,” Stukey said. “We can’t admit, we can’t do anything.”

The health department expects all grant award notices to be sent out by the end of the week. Health officials say nonprofit organizations that are struggling financially should contact state program managers.

“This is a priority for the department,” said assistant DHSS commissioner Sana Efird said. “We’re focusing resources to get this done.”

Division of Behavioral Health spokeswoman Sarana Schell says the delay has garnered calls from less than 10 percent of grant recipients. She said full implementation of the new accounting system will provide “a more sophisticated, efficient system that should make life easier for” administrators and grant recipients alike.

Department of Administration spokesman Andy Mills says training new employees on the accounting program has been a challenge, but that technical issues have not contributed to the delay.

The previous accounting system had been in place for 30 years.

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