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HHS Denies Arkansas’ Appeal for AIDS Drug Funds
HHS officials have "refused to overlook a botched grant application" and denied an Arkansas appeal for $725,760 to purchase drugs for AIDS patients, a state Health Department official said yesterday, the Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette reports. Arkansas applied for the funds earlier in the year but failed to respond to the federal agency's request for more information by July 29. Donnie Smith, associate director for the state's Bureau of Public Health Programs, said that the HHS request was received in a letter July 24, but misplaced for several weeks. He added that HHS did not send a notification e-mail or follow-up telephone call. Last week, department Director Fay Boozman and state Sen. Jim Argue (D) asked federal officials overseeing grant distributions from the federal Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance program to reconsider the state's case. But HHS spokesperson Tom Flavin said that Boozman and Argue's letter did not provide any new information to make the state eligible for the program. According to Smith, state officials felt that Arkansas qualified for the grant program established by Congress last year, but the state did not meet two criteria under grant guidelines issued by HHS in May. Arkansas will now use $181,440 in state funds to buy AIDS medicines for the 109 people on the state's waiting list, funds originally intended to supplement the federal grant (Wickline, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/6).
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