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July 7, 2009



Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today that the following audits have been issued:

Office of Children and Family Services: Sibling Placement in Foster Care in New York City (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-48)
New York State’s foster care programs are administered by 58 local social service districts (57 counties and New York City) that are overseen by the Office of Children and Family Services. According to state law and regulations, siblings placed in foster care should be kept together unless it is impossible or inadvisable to do so. If siblings in foster care are separated, provisions should be made for them to see one another regularly and the reason for their separation must be appropriately documented. In a prior audit (2007-S-10), auditors found these requirements were generally being met but there was no documentation in some instances indicating that separated siblings had visited with one another as often as required. When auditors followed up on this prior audit, they found progress had been made.

Department of Civil Service: New York State Health Insurance Program: Payments for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-43)
A prior audit (2007-S-12) found Group Health Incorporated (GHI) owed the state $96,178 for duplicate and inappropriate payments for mental health and substance abuse services provided under the Empire Plan. When auditors followed up on the prior audit’s findings, they found the payments had been refunded to the state, but other recommended improvements had not been made.

Department of Health: Eligibility of Children Enrolled in Child Health Plus B (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-26)
In New York State’s Child Health Plus B Program, which is administered by the Department of Health, free or low-cost health insurance is provided to low-income children who are not eligible for Medicaid. In a prior audit (2005-S-58), auditors identified more than 20,000 ineligible children that were enrolled in the Child Health Plus B Program at a cost of $2.6 million during the audit period. When auditors followed up on this prior report, they found progress had been made.

Department of Health: Flu Pandemic Preparedness (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-7)
In a prior audit (2007-S-9), auditors examined whether the Department of Health had taken steps to prepare and respond to a flu pandemic. Auditors found that the department had taken necessary steps and recommended that additional actions be taken to further enhance the department’s preparedness. When auditors followed up on these matters, they found the audit’s recommendations had been implemented.

Department of Health: Inappropriate Medicaid Billings for Dental Services (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-46)
In a prior audit (2007-S-3), auditors disallowed $125,000 in Medicaid claims to a dentist who maintained two dental facilities in Brooklyn and recommended that the department review an additional $771,000 in questionable bills. When auditors followed up on this prior audit, they found the audit’s recommendations had been implemented, and the dentist had been convicted of Medicaid fraud and surrendered his license to practice dentistry.

Department of Health: Office of Professional Medical Conduct: Complaints and Investigations Process (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-29)
The Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct is responsible for investigating cases of suspected misconduct on the part of physicians, physician assistants and specialist assistants. In a prior audit (2005-S-21), auditors examined the actions taken by the office in identifying, tracking and investigating complaints of alleged physician medical misconduct and found areas for improvements. When auditors followed up on this prior audit, they found the audit’s recommendations had been implemented.

Office of Mental Health: Oversight of Criminal History Record Checks for Service Provider Employees (2008-S-87)
The Office of Mental Health (OMH) provides inpatient and outpatient services to approximately 500,000 New Yorkers annually with the assistance of nearly 500 not-for-profit service providers. All prospective employees of these providers who would have unsupervised contact with patients are required by law to undergo a background check as a condition of their employment. Auditors examined OMH’s oversight of the service providers’ compliance with this requirement and found that the oversight provided reasonable assurance the providers were complying with the requirement.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Contracted Health Care Services for New York City Prison Inmates (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-2)
A contractor overseen by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is responsible for providing health care services to New York City prison inmates. In a prior audit (2005-N-5), auditors examined the department’s monitoring of the contractor’s performance and identified problems. For example, several of the performance standards established by the department were not being met by the contractor. When auditors followed up on this prior audit, they found only some of the audit’s recommendations had been implemented.

Department of Transportation: Recycling Program (2008-S-138)
The Department of Transportation is required to comply with recycling requirements specified in state law and Executive Order 4, which was issued in April 2008. The department also has recycling responsibilities for old tires and other discarded materials found along the state’s roadways. Auditors found that the department was not in compliance with its recycling requirements, as it had yet to establish an organization-wide recycling program and was not fully meeting recycling reporting requirements. In addition, when auditors visited selected department facilities, auditors found some of the facilities were not meeting recycling requirements.

State Office for the Aging: Ombudsman Program (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-4)
The State Office for the Aging (SOFA) administers the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, in which volunteers are trained and certified to investigate and resolve complaints made by residents in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. In a prior audit (2006-S-76), auditors examined the expenditures made under the program by SOFA’s Central Office and two localities (New York City and Suffolk County). Auditors found that the two localities were expending program funds for their authorized purposes, but the Central Office was expending some of its program funds for purposes that were not related to the program. When auditors followed up on this matter with SOFA officials, they found the audit’s recommendations had been implemented.

For a copy of the audits, click on the name of the audit.

State Government Accountability
The Office of the State Comptroller regularly audits state agencies, public authorities and New York City agencies. Auditors ensure that programs achieve their established goals, funds are used efficiently and assets are adequately protected against fraud, waste and abuse. DiNapoli’s office completes approximately 200 state audits and annually identifies hundreds of millions in savings and fraud each year.

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