Feb 13, 2016 12:15 PM

People with developmental disabilities denied services as $20 million goes unspent

CONCORD —More than 100 people entitled to services for the developmentally disabled did not get them last year while $20 million in state funding allocated for those services went unspent.

The office of the Legislative Budget Assistant recently completed an audit and reported this and other findings to lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, according to the Union Leader.

As a result of the $20 million going unspent by the Department of Health and Human Services, the state failed to qualify for federal matching funds that would have provided another $20 million.

“This system has underserved some of our neediest citizens, and that is unacceptable to the Legislature,” said Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, on Friday.

The audit found delays in hiring service providers, budget constraints due to inflexibility, and the agency’s failure to properly track expenditures contributed to the problem.

Since the audit, Marilee Nihan, the deputy health commissioner, said the waiting list has grown to 153 clients today.

Nihan said the department intends to address the problem promptly.

“I want the system to get fixed and run as optimally as possible, and the clients to live to their potential as all of us do,” she told lawmakers.

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