Dear DPA Team,
It comes as no surprise that DPA is under enormous pressure to handle the many families applying for services such as SNAP and Medicaid. In an attempt to serve these families, DPA staff have worked countless hours of overtime. Additionally, the Division has hired temporary staff to further back-stop our capacity. Unfortunately, this is not enough.
There is much good news to share. The backlog has been reduced almost 40% from its peak on April 6th at 12,530 applications to today at 7,589 applications. This is a truly amazing feat to accomplish in only 5 months! Also, the director was notified this week that the Food and Nutrition Service sent DPA a letter complimenting us on our improvement in SNAP timeliness and removing the pending sanction. None of these achievements would have been possible without all of the hard work that is going on in the field offices. Your dedication means that needy Alaskans will have nutritious food on their tables, warm homes, and access to affordable child care and health care coverage.
On September 1st Medicaid expanded to cover more Alaskans and 952 individuals have been approved under Medicaid Expansion as of September 14th. There has been quite a bit of interest in eligibility for medical assistance as evidenced by the dramatic increase in the number of individuals using the online screening tool (https://aries.alaska.gov/screener/?logIn=N) to see if they may qualify for Medicaid by answering a few short questions. The week of August 29th – September 4th there were 1,143 Medicaid screening applications completed.
Each and every one of you is contributing in some way to reducing the backlog. Thank you for all of your continuing efforts!
Sean, Tammie and Aimee would like to express our thanks to all of the staff who met with us during our office field visits, to those who asked tough questions that needed understanding for you to provide accurate information to our clients, and for providing recommendations to improve upon the information being shared with the entire Division. Although we were not able to visit every office, we wanted to provide some written information for everyone. Therefore, the following questions and answers are a direct result of the discussions that the field staff had with us. As we mentioned during the visits, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need clarification.
We are very proud of our DPA team, the work that you do every day to help those less fortunate is very humbling. Thank you.