Arkansas Health Director Explains Botched Grant Proposal
Dr. Fay Boozman, director of the Arkansas Health Department, on Monday explained that the state missed out on a $725,760 federal grant, which would have provided "backup funding" for 100 HIV/AIDS patients currently receiving medications donated by pharmaceutical companies, because officials "misunderstood grant law," the Associated Press reports. The health department had said that a letter from federal authorities explaining the funding denial, which had a reply by date of July 29, was filed away before being seen by "key" health department employees, leading to questions about the department's competency. Boozman said that allegations that the federal government unfairly denied the Arkansas application, while granting applications for states in similar circumstances, were unfounded, adding that the rules were applied "uniformly." About $250,000 from the governor's office's share of the state General Improvement Fund will go toward providing a safety net for the drug program, which, according to Boozman, could lose the drug companies' support because of the economic downturn. The Legislature has also endorsed using $100,000 of its share of the General Improvement Fund for the program, but has not yet allocated the money (Associated Press, 10/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.