Concerned family members made a complaint about the guardianship of a man who died while a ward of the Public Guardian and the Office of Public Advocacy. The Ombudsman investigated whether the Public Guardian visited with the man, as required by state law, and whether they spent his limited resources in a way to provide him with safe and consistent housing. Based on the evidence, they had not. The Ombudsman also investigated how the Public Guardian managed his finances after his death.
Read the summary of the investigation, and the recommendations we made to the Office of Public Advocacy:
In Alaska, we have the State Ombudsman, the Anchorage Municipal Ombudsman, and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Each organization serves Alaskans in different ways. Get to know Alaska’s Ombuds in this short video:
Our Intake Team is attending training and professional development, so we will not be able to accept new complaints by phone or email this week. You can still call and leave a message, send an email, or make a complaint online, and we’ll get back to you after September 18, 2023.
Our new and improved newsletter is now available! Learn when and how the Ombudsman initiates an investigation on her own motion. Read about our efforts to connect with more Alaskans through in person and social media outreach. And see what’s ahead for our communications.
Thanks to our communications pros, we have expanded our social media outreach to Instagram. Check us out @AKOmbuds and give us a follow to learn more about our work, get useful referrals, and enjoy our fun reels.
The annual report for 2022 is out now. Learn how we helped over 2,000 people resolve their complaints and problems. Read about the investigations we conducted. And see how we measure our own performance.
The Alaska State Ombudsman can no longer investigate complaints about the Department of Health Division of Public Assistance (DPA) that allege a delay in review, processing, or determination of Food Stamp (SNAP) cases, or complaints alleging that the Division’s Virtual Call Center (VCC) does not provide a realistic means of communicating with the Division. This is because state law and regulation clearly exclude matters subject to a judicial process from ombudsman review, and a class action lawsuit related to these issues has been filed.
Kamkoff et al. v. Department of Health (3AN-23-04259 CI), filed January 20, 2023, in Anchorage Superior Court, is a class action lawsuit that alleges that the Division is not timely processing SNAP cases and is not offering meaningful communication through the VCC. So, beginning January 30, 2023, the Ombudsman will decline all complaints or requests for assistance related to SNAP delays or the Virtual Call Center. Intake staff will continue to provide referrals to agencies and resources that can assist the person with their complaint. We will continue to review complaints related to Medicaid, Senior Benefits, TANF/ATAP, and other public assistance benefits.
People who have been waiting more than 30 days for a determination of their SNAP eligibility (whether a new application or recertification) can contact Alaska Legal Services Corporation for assistance at 1-888-478-2572 or apply online at https://www.alsc-law.org/intake/.
Alaska State Ombudsman, Kate Burkhart, released a report of an investigation of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) today. The Ombudsman investigated allegations that OCS staff did not follow agency policies and procedures, disregarded relevant information in their decision-making process, and did not properly address the safety threats to the children.