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Comptroller releases state audits

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

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Corcraft's Textile Procurement Practices (2012-S-22)
Corcraft is a major component within the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Corcraft's mission is to employ offenders in real work situations to produce quality goods and services at competitive prices. Current procurement practices allow one person, the purchasing supervisor, to control almost all of the process for the procurement of textiles. The inadequate separation of incompatible duties and lack of compensating controls increases the risk of favoritism in the award process. Auditors found Corcraft officials awarded contracts without testing all of the required specifications and instead used their own discretion in deciding whether and which specifications were tested. As a result, they did not adequately ensure open competition, and there was limited assurance that contracts totaling $32.3 million went to the lowest responsive and responsible vendors.

Department of Health, Medicaid Program: Medicaid Payments Made Pursuant to Medicare Part C  (2012-S-133)
During the audit period, auditors found Medicaid could have saved up to $69 million if it limited payments of Medicare Part C cost-sharing liabilities such that the total Medicare and Medicaid payment for a service did not exceed Medicaid's normal service fee. Other states already use this approach and New York uses this approach to limit payments for certain other Medicare cost-sharing liabilities. In addition, auditors determined Medicaid made $1.6 million in overpayments for Medicare Part C cost-sharing because recipients were not enrolled in Part C.

Department of Health, Medicaid Program: Medicaid Claims Processing Activity October 1, 2012 Through March 31, 2013 (2012-S-131)
Auditors identified about $13 million in inappropriate or questionable Medicaid payments, including:
$6,329,458 in questionable payments for claims that were not subjected to the appropriate edits and pricing logic due to eMedNY's incorrect designation of the claim type being processed;
$2,965,300 in overpayments for claims billed with incorrect information pertaining to recipients' other health insurance coverage; $2,689,352 in inappropriate payments for lab services claims submitted well beyond the required time frame for submission; $488,837 in overpayments for claims for duplicate billings; $222,806 in overpayments for claims for a dialysis drug billed at 10 times the number of units actually provided; and claims with improper payments for physician-administered drugs, hospital services, medical equipment and dental services. By the end of the audit fieldwork, auditors recovered about $3.8 million of the overpayments identified.

Department of Health, Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-94)
Travel expenses totaling $466,301 for 14 of the 17 DOH employees selected for review were appropriate and adhered to state travel rules and regulations. However, for three employees, auditors identified numerous problems with travel practices and related expenses attributed to inadequate oversight. Of the $121,727 in travel expenses examined for the three employees, auditors found problems with costs totaling $14,870.

NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Benefit Eligibility Assessment Process (2012-S-51)
Auditors found that HRA employees apply a comprehensive assessment process when determining a client's eligibility, and that process is in compliance with governing regulations and procedures. However, procedural revisions are necessary to reduce the number of hearings held, and to reduce the number of HRA determinations that are reversed at hearings.

Office of Information Technology Services, Procurement and Contracting Practices (Follow-Up) (2013-F-24)
In an initial audit report issued in February 2012, auditors found a culture at the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), emanating from the highest levels of the agency, that disregarded the New York State Finance Law, the state's procurement guidelines and the agency's own procurement policies. This did not result in the best value for the taxpayers, but instead led to a waste of substantial public resources. Moreover, in several notable instances, transgressions appeared to have been motivated by personal gain and may have violated the ethics standards contained in the New York State Public Officers Law. In a follow up, auditors found ITS officials have made some progress and continue to make progress in addressing the problems identified in the initial audit. Of the eight prior audit recommendations, one was implemented and seven were partially implemented.

Office of Mental Health, Sky Light Center Inc.: Supported Housing Program (2012-S-37)
Auditors identified $125,302 in unsupported or inappropriate personal service expenses charged to the housing program. These charges included unsupported salary allocations and inappropriate overtime payments to management. Auditors also identified $295,321 in unsupported or inappropriate non-personal service expense items, including expenses associated with the unrelated program facilities, payments to a contractor to enhance his personal property and rental payments for unoccupied apartments. Sky Light officials cannot account for over $75,000 in contingency funds that were to be used specifically for client housing emergencies. Additionally, Sky Light officials did not make all required visits to client apartments. Auditors identified several potential safety issues, including the lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Inspecting Highway Bridges and Repairing Defects (2012-S-34)
Auditors found the authority conducted the required biennial inspection of its highway bridges, but does not follow New York state requirements for classifying, reporting and repairing bridge defects. Instead it follows its own method, but does not always satisfy state requirements. As a result, it did not perform 47 interim inspections for priority conditions open more than one year. The authority also did not inspect a highway bridge with an immediate safety concern for 332 days while it awaited repairs. Ten of the 17 safety concerns sampled were not repaired for more than two years, including three which were open for five years.

State University of New York SUNY at Albany, Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-74)
Expenses for nine of the 10 University employees selected for review were appropriate. For a track coach, however, officials did not enforce Office of State Comptroller and university guidelines limiting travel advance amounts and requiring unspent balances to be returned on a timely basis. The track coach routinely overestimated the amount of advance funds needed for athletic events. As a result, at one point he had over $87,000 in outstanding advances. Also, the coach consistently returned unused advance funds more than two months later than required by the university. University officials allowed this coach to pay back his travel advances in installments – similar to the payback of a loan. The track coach may have violated the Public Officers Law by employing his daughter as a volunteer coach and using state funds to pay for her travel with him and the team to local and national track events.

Tuition Assistance Program, Medgar Evers College (2011-T-4) 
Medgar Evers was overpaid $3,398,205 over three academic years because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards. Incorrect certifications include 29 students who received awards but did not meet the requirements for full-time status, 14 students who did not maintain good academic standing, four students whose accounts were not credited with the TAP payment, three students who were not properly matriculated, two students who enrolled in programs not approved by the State Education Department, one student who did not meet the citizenship requirement, and one student for whom auditors found insufficient proof that she satisfied the New York state residency requirement. 

Tuition Assistance Program, Pratt Institute (2013-T-3)
Auditors determined that Pratt's certification procedures substantially complied with the governing Law and Regulations during the audit period for the transactions tested. There is low risk that a significant number of students certified for TAP were not eligible for awards. Nonetheless, tests did disclose 26 awards totaling $38,236 that school officials certified in error. After reviewing the errors, Pratt officials decertified one award for $2,450 and sent another student a $50 refund check.