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June 10, 2009

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

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

City University of New York: Borough of Manhattan Community College: Selected Financial Management Practices (2008-N-8)
The City University of New York (CUNY) consists of eleven senior colleges, six community colleges, and several other specialized and professional schools. The Borough of Manhattan Community College is the largest of the CUNY community colleges. Auditors examined whether the College had established an adequate system of internal control over financial operations for payroll, purchasing, cash disbursements, and waiving of tuition. Auditors found that these internal controls were generally adequate, but improvements were needed in the areas of cash disbursements, procurement, employee tuition waivers, and employee timekeeping practices.

Capital District Transportation Authority: Recycling Program (2008-S-144)
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) is required to comply with certain recycling requirements specified in State law and Executive Order 4, which was issued in April 2008. Auditors found that CDTA was not fully complying with these requirements.

Office of Children and Family Services: Oversight of Child Protective Services Outside New York City (2007-S-129)
In New York State, reports of possible child abuse and maltreatment are investigated by local social services districts (counties), under the supervision of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Under the Social Services Law, the districts have seven days from the receipt of a report to determine whether intervention is required to protect the child against possible harm, and 60 days to complete the investigation. Auditors examined whether local districts outside New York City were meeting the seven-day and 60-day requirements and found improvements were needed in the computerized tracking system used by OCFS to monitor the local districts’ compliance. According to the system, the districts often were not meeting the requirements. However, when auditors reviewed the detailed case records for a sample of cases, they found the districts’ performance was much better than the data reflected.

New York City Economic Development Corporation: East 34th Street Heliport: Safety and Security (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-38)
The East 34th Street Heliport is one of three public heliports in New York City. The Heliport, which is managed by a private company pursuant to a lease agreement with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, is used by sightseeing, corporate and charter helicopter carriers. The New York State Anti-terrorism Preparedness Act of 2004 requires general aviation airports and heliports to file a security plan with the State Department of Transportation. In a prior audit (2007-S-8), auditors examined the Heliport’s compliance with required safety and security-related practices and found that improvements were needed. When auditors followed up, they found that additional actions were still needed. Due to the sensitivity of the information, the detailed audit findings have not been released.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Grant Funds from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-3)
The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program grant funds to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In a prior audit (2006-N-6), auditors examined the Department’s grant expenditures and identified internal control weaknesses. For example, auditors found equipment, costing $625,391, was sitting in storage and would not have been available in an emergency. When auditors followed up, they found improvements had been made.

State Department of Health: Immunization Program (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-6)
New York State’s Public Health Law requires children to be immunized against certain communicable diseases before they attend any public school, private school, nursery school, or day care facility. The Department of Health is responsible for promoting and monitoring compliance with these immunization requirements. In a prior audit (2005-S-41), auditors examined the effectiveness of the Department’s efforts and found that some improvements were needed. For example, auditors reviewed records at a sample of 25 elementary and secondary schools and found that the immunization requirements in the Public Health Law were not always being met. When auditors followed up on these matters, they found the Department had made some progress but more needed to be done.

State Department of Health: Medicaid Overpayments for Mental Health Services (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-54)
In a previous audit (2006-S-53), auditors identified more than $1.3 million in Medicaid overpayments for mental health services, many of which were the result of providers billing Medicaid more than once for the same service. In addition, about $436,000 in overpayments were made to a psychiatrist who billed Medicaid for more than 24 hours of services in a single day. When auditors followed up, they found considerable progress had been made.

State Department of Health: Medicaid Payments for Pharmacy Services While Recipients Resided in Nursing Homes (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-11)
Many pharmacy services are included in the comprehensive Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes. Accordingly, Medicaid generally should not be billed separately for these services when they are provided to nursing home residents. However, in a prior audit report (2007-S-88), auditors found Medicaid was billed separately for these services for a total of about $2.1 million. When auditors followed up, they found only limited progress had been made.

Insurance Department: Administration of the Individual Direct Payment Health Insurance Program (2008-S-167)
The New York State Health Care Reform Act of 2000 (HCRA) provides for an Individual Direct Payment Health Insurance Program that makes it possible for individual consumers to have access to comprehensive health insurance. All New York State HMOs are required to offer standardized individual enrollee contracts to members of the program on an open enrollment basis. To offset the premiums that individuals are required to pay for coverage under the program, HCRA required the State Insurance Department to establish certain stop-loss funds to enable the HMOs to be reimbursed for high-cost claims with savings being passed on in the form of reduced premiums. Auditors examined whether the stop-loss funds that were provided to participating HMOs were correctly used in setting their premium rates, and found that they were.

Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities: Oversight of Criminal History Record Checks for Employees of Voluntary Agencies and Registered Providers (2007-S-112)
The Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) provides residential, day and family support services to approximately 140,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. All prospective employees, volunteers and operators of voluntary agencies and registered providers, who have regular and substantial unsupervised or unrestricted physical contact with the developmentally disabled, are required by law to undergo a background check as a condition of their employment. Auditors found that necessary background checks were completed and OMRDD’s oversight procedures were adequate to detect instances of noncompliance. However, improvements were needed in OMRDD’s oversight procedures to minimize the length of time instances of noncompliance remained undetected in the agencies.

 

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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