The D.C. Department of Human Resources will begin using a new system in April to mail authorization cards to the 37,000 District residents who receive free food stamps.
The cards, which are now mailed at the beginning of each month, will be mailed alphabetically according to last names during the first two weeks of each month.
For example, cards will be mailed April 2 for persons whose last names begin with the letters A or B. Cards will be mailed April 13 for persons whose last names begin with letters W, X, Y or Z.
DHR officials said food stamp recipients were notified of the change the last week by letter and by annoucements placed in local newspapers.
The alphabetical system was implemented to help reduce the long lines and waiting periods that occured when recipients exchange the cards for stamps at distribution centers, officials said.
The change in procedures was announced at the DHR bi-weekly press conference. Among the other annoucements: DHR director Albert P. Russo said recently approved funding requests have enabled DHR to hire more people to review welfare cases and help reduce the D.C. welfare department's high error rate. On Monday, DHR will open 10 neighborhood centers staffed by 244 workers. Workers will review the case records of more than 30,000 welfare families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
Previously, the reviews-which require a personal interview every six months-were conducted at one location, the DHR central office at 500 First Street NW. Russo said because of staffing shortages, many cases have not been reviewed for two years or longer.
The Forensic Psychiatry Division of the Mental Health Administration is seeking $72,000 from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration to expand psychiatric screening and consultation services for youth referred to the D.C. Superior Court.
The Washington Hospital Center has received a contract for $50,252 to train 75 D.C. Fire Department employes in the advanced life support skills required of paramedics operating mobile intensive care units. The course is required for certification from the D.C. Paramedic Review Board. Participants in the 10-week program must already have completed a 120-hour basic emergency medical technician course.
A seven-member screening panel has been appointed by Mayor Marion Barry to recommend a new administrator of the D.C. Mental Health Administration. Its former administrator, Dr. Jeferson McAlpine, resigned March 9. Dr. Evelyn Ireland, chief of one of the city's mental health centers, has been appointed acting administrator of the MHA until the position is filled permanently.