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Comptroller releases state agency audits

ALBANY - State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office issued the following audits:

New York City Department of Environmental Conservation: Controls Over Computers (Follow-Up) (2013-F-27)
An initial audit report, issued in January 2012, found that the department did not place enough priority on ensuring that computer assets were properly controlled and appropriately used. Auditors concluded that these weak management practices increased the risk that equipment may be misappropriated, or used for personal use. In a follow-up, auditors found the department has made some progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial report, but additional improvements are still needed. Of the four prior recommendations, one has been implemented, two have been partially implemented, and one has not been implemented.

State Department of Health: Medicaid Payments for Medicare Part A Beneficiaries (Follow-Up) (2013-F-16)
An initial audit report issued in September 2010 identified $14 million in potential Medicaid overpayments for claims pertaining to 2,564 individuals enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. Auditors recommended the Department of Health (DOH) improve its detection of Medicare Part A coverage for Medicaid recipients and prevent improper payments. In a follow-up, auditors found DOH has made considerable progress in correcting the problems identified in the initial audit report. This included the recovery of approximately $22.6 million in Medicaid overpayments. Of the initial report’s four recommendations, three were implemented and one was not implemented.

State Department of Health, Medicaid Program: Improper Payments for Ancillary Services Provided During Hospital Inpatient Admissions (2012-S-160)
Ancillary services refer to health care services provided in the home, medical offices, clinics, and other freestanding sites. Medicaid claims for ancillary services are processed by eMedNY, DOH's automated claims processing and management information system. Claims are subject to various edits – automated controls within eMedNY – designed to pay Medicaid claims in accordance with Medicaid reimbursement policies. During the audit period, eMedNY identified 9,821 improper ancillary service claims totaling about $1 million that were paid and reported to DOH officials. However, at the time of audit fieldwork, DOH had not taken actions to recover these improper payments. In addition, Medicaid paid $368,000 for about 6,600 improper ancillary service claims for recipients who were also covered by Medicare.

Office of Mental Health, New York Psychiatric Center: Controls Over State Resources (Follow-Up) (2013-F-22)
The New York State Psychiatric Institute, established in 1895, is one of two clinical research facilities administered by the Office of Mental Health. The institute conducts clinical trials and research studies relating to the treatment of mental illness. An initial audit report, issued in January 2011, found institute management had not always provided adequate control over state resources. Auditors found insufficient controls to ensure institute employees performed state work commensurate with their pay, and the institute was not taking steps to ensure it was receiving fair compensation for use of its facilities by Columbia University. In a follow-up, auditors found institute officials have made some progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial report, but additional improvements are needed. Of the seven prior recommendations, one has been implemented and six have been partially implemented.

State Department of Transportation: Oversight of Grants (Follow-up) (2013-F-29)
An initial report, issued in July 2011, examined the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) oversight of grant activity. Auditors found that the monitoring performed by the Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau and the Aviation Bureau could be improved with more effective analysis of available data, and through more effective communication and information sharing within the DOT and with other state agencies that also provide grant funding. In a follow-up, auditors found DOT has made progress in correcting the problems identified in the initial report. Of the eight prior audit recommendations, three recommendations have been implemented and five recommendations have been partially implemented. DOT is awaiting implementation of a new statewide grants management system, scheduled for April 2014, which it believes will address several of the remaining issues.