Department of Health and Social Services split official; change to be implemented this summer

The splitting of the state Department of Health and Social Services into two companies is now legislation and the 2 companies will function individually starting this summer time, Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced Monday.

“The idea is that with better oversight and better focus, that we will get better outcomes that not only will drive down costs over, we think, a short period of time, but I think we’re going to see an improvement in the response time, the implementation programs and the outcomes that we all expect,” Dunleavy mentioned at a press convention.

By July 1, DHSS will function as two new companies — the Department of Family and Community Services and the Department of Health.

Dunleavy issued Executive Order 121, which referred to as for the reorganization of the prevailing company, at the beginning of the present legislative session, in response to a launch from the DHSS.

Alaska constitutional authority states the Legislature is granted 60 days to guage orders and vote them down in a joint session, in response to the discharge. If the vote is absent from legislative motion, because it was with the manager order, the order turns into legislation.

Adam Crum, commissioner of DHSS, mentioned a few of the main points Dunleavy has tasked him with embody stabilizing the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, correcting backlog within the Division of Public Assistance, and discovering financial savings within the state’s Medicaid program.

The cut up of DHSS, he mentioned, is meant to make operations equivalent to these extra environment friendly.

“It was from my staff and my division directors, and people that have years and decades in the department, (who) brought forward that the way we are doing our business and health and social services can change because we need to be realigned differently,” Crum mentioned Monday.

DHSS is the state division with essentially the most personnel and the biggest funds, in addition to essentially the most companies, Crum mentioned.

“We’re offering so many services all across Alaska,” Crum mentioned. “By reorganizing into two departments, we will have a focused approach that supports stakeholder engagement for innovations and working to remove administrative burdens.”

Both Dunleavy and Crum reiterated that the restructuring just isn’t on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor first proposed splitting DHSS in 2020, and the trouble has been current within the state Legislature since.

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, sat in on the press convention Monday and praised the Legislature for the nonpartisan transfer.

“This is not a political decision, this was a decision specifically designed to improve services to the most vulnerable Alaskans, to identify cost reductions and efficiencies for the second leadership team, to provide both the bandwidth to deliver a better result,” Micciche mentioned.

The Department of Family Community Services will embody the Division of Juvenile Justice, the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, Alaska Pioneer Homes and the Office of Children’s Services. The Department of Health will embody the Division of Public Health, Division of Public Assistance, Division of Behavioral Health, Division of Health Care Services, and the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at

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