State audit shows violations by WIC vendor, other 'significant d - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

State audit shows violations by WIC vendor, other 'significant diseases'

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An audit performed by State of Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts listed issues involving state agencies. (Source: MGN Online) An audit performed by State of Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts listed issues involving state agencies. (Source: MGN Online)
ALABAMA (WAFF) - An audit performed by the State of Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts listed 17 issues involving state agencies. 

These issues included accounting issues, lack of records, and failure to update the agency's disaster plan.

The audit states the Alabama WIC program allowed a vendor to receive payment for supplemental food not received by the participant. According to the audit, an investigator and buy agent visited the vendor five times. The investigator and agent noted the vendor charged WIC for supplemental food not received during three of those buys. The Alabama WIC program policy states the vendor should have been disqualified from the program for three years. Instead, the unnamed vendor received a warning.

The Alabama WIC Program Director did not dispute the findings in the audit, but said staff will be trained on the handling of vendors and documenting issues with vendors. The Program Director listed an anticipated completion date of September 30, 2014.

According to the audit, the Alabama Department of Public Health could not produce documentation to back up the money reportedly contributed for HIV Care Formula Grants. The contributions were matched by federal program funds. The amount of money in question totaled $3,890,511. The agency says they are working to develop a spreadsheet to monitor contributions that do not come from the Federal Government. The State did not dispute these findings and has a correction plan expected to be in place by October 1, 2014.

Auditors report The Alabama Medicaid agencies had issues expenditures claimed from October 2005 through October 2007. The amount in question totaled $72,056,075. In August 2013, the Medicaid received notice from the Office of Inspector General recommending a refund totaling $88,197,498 to the Federal Government. Alabama Medicaid voluntarily agreed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid would withhold performance bonus awards for the fiscal years 2011 and 2012. This issue is still being discussed on a federal level. Agency officials state did not dispute the statements made in the audit, and say they have taken corrective actions to ensure this does not happen again.

The audit also found a discrepancy in the Medicaid Agency accounting methods. The Medicaid Agency uses a spreadsheet to track federal and state revenues and expenditures showed. Auditors say report finding a $79,017.98 difference between that spreadsheet and Medicaid's accounting system. The agency did not disagree with the audit and reports implementing a new accounting system in October 2013 in order to catch future discrepancies.

The audit revealed issues with patient fee assessments at Alabama Department of Public Health clinics. The auditor noted 17 errors resulting in patients not receiving a bill or receipt at the time of service. The Director of the Women's and Children's Health Division responded saying the errors were found primarily in Chilton County. The department is in the process of conducting targeted training with the clinic staff. In the future, the central office will review the billing and collection process. The agency did not disagree with any of the findings and states the issues found are expected to be corrected by February 2015.

The audit also contained recommendations concerning contingency planning in the event of man-made or natural disasters. The audit stated the Department of Labor's disaster plan had not been updated since 2002. The agency did not have an alternate site to use in the event of a catastrophic event. Department officials are in the process of updating the disaster plan and anticipate the plan to be complete by October 2016. The audit also says the Labor Department did not have appropriate security for computer data. Officials did not dispute the report and say they are in the process of restructuring so that access to data and programs is limited. That project should be complete by September 2014.

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