Feds want Alabama to repay $5.7M in disaster funds

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - State officials are disputing the federal government's claim that Alabama should repay $5.7 million it received for disaster preparedness projects.

The government reimbursed Alabama for the millions it spent for its Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program that was part of a federal project administered by state public health officials.

Inspectors are questioning money that was paid to the Alabama Hospital Association, which is a statewide trade organization for hospitals, health systems and related companies.

They say money should be paid back because the association put the funds in an interest-bearing account and the $5.7 million wasn't spent on the intended goods and services before a program deadline.

State Health Officer Don Williamson contends the money was spent when his department wrote the check to the hospital association.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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