Health officials say you won’t feel a thing as the state’s largest agency splits in two

Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, listens as Gov. Mike Dunleavy talks about the division of the agency into two smaller departments on March 21, 2022, in the Atwood Building in Anchorage. The Department of Health and the Department of Family and Community Services will be reorganized on July 1, 2022. (Screen capture of Dunleavy livestream)
Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, listens as Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks on March 21, 2022 about the plan to divide the agency into two smaller departments. (Screen capture of Dunleavy livestream)

The state’s Department of Health and Social Services — by far the largest state agency — has split into two smaller departments, effective last Friday. State officials say the reorganization will result in two more wieldy departments.

“Alaska should not notice that any change has occurred. Our websites are updated, but services that Alaskans receive should not see any changes,” said Adam Crum, formerly the DHSS commissioner. Now Crum is the commissioner of the new Health Department.

The other new department is Family and Community Services. Marianne Sweet is its Assistant Commissioner. She said the split will mean each department will be more efficient.

“We’re going to be able to have a more central focus on the programs that we’re supporting within our departments’ support services,” Sweet said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy made an executive order in March to split Health and Social Services. The Department of Health will take care of health care services, public health, behavioral health, senior and disabilities services, and Medicaid. The Department of Family and Community Services will support the child welfare system and other direct services like Alaska Psychiatric Institute and state-operated assisted living homes.

Crum said department leaders have cleared their schedules this week to make sure the transition is smooth and respond to questions.

 

Claire Stremple

Alaska News Reporter, KTOO

I believe every Alaskan has a right to timely information about their health and health systems, and their natural environment and its management. My goal is to report thoughtful stories that inform, inspire and quench the curiosity of listeners across the state.

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