Arkansas Legislature to Ask U.S. Congressional Delegates for Help in Investigating Denial of AIDS Grant
The Arkansas House and Senate Committees on Public Health, Welfare and Labor on Thursday decided to ask the state's congressional delegation to examine why the state did not receive a $725,760 federal grant to purchase AIDS drugs and how the state can obtain the grant next year, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Donnie Smith, associate director for the state Health Department's Bureau of Public Health Programs, told the committees that HHS deemed Arkansas ineligible for the funding, as the state did not meet any of the grant program's criteria to qualify. He added that the state Health Department's misplacement of an HHS letter "had nothing to do" with the grant denial. The federal government also rejected the state's subsequent appeal. State Rep. Jay Bradford (D) said that Arkansas' federal elected officials should investigate the issue "so we can properly structure for the future," but state Rep. Tracy Steele (D) countered that lawmakers should not have to look beyond the Health Department for information "unless we feel the information they are providing is incomplete or inadequate" (Wickline, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.