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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

December 30, 2019

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

Department of Agriculture and Markets: Oversight of Industrial Hemp (2018-S-32)
The department’s program has rapidly expanded opportunities for industrial hemp production in the state. However, the department does not always follow established practices when reviewing applications, conducting inspections, and sampling plants. The department inspected only 57 percent of growers in the program and tested plant THC levels for only 58 percent of the growers during 2018. Incomplete records and unreliable data systems further hinder its ability to effectively monitor program requirements.

City University of New York (CUNY): Compliance With Payment Card Industry Standards (2018-S-61)
Auditors found that while CUNY recognizes the importance of compliance with payment card industry standards and is committed to maintaining strong internal controls, it has not provided its colleges with sufficient guidance and direction for addressing and maintaining compliance with data security requirements.

New York City Department of Finance (DOF): Selected Aspects of Parking Violations Operations to Collect Fines and Fees (2017-N-8)
Overall, auditors determined that while DOF identifies parking summonses to be processed, its collection of payments for parking fines needs to be improved. Many parking summonses are dismissed as defective due to errors that occurred when the summonses were issued. Until October 2018, DOF expended minimal effort to collect amounts due for summonses issued to vehicles with diplomatic plates. These amounts due include $15.6 million for summonses issued before Nov. 1, 2002.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) - Staten Island Railway (SIR): Operational Training and Medical Assessments of Train Crews (Follow-Up) (2019-F-18)
An audit released in March 2018 found that SIR was not in compliance with the requirements of the induction and refresher training established for its engineers and conductors. In a follow-up, auditors found MTA-SIR officials made progress in addressing the problems identified in the initial audit.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): Allocation, Billing, and Collection of Expenses of Administering the Motor Vehicle Financial Security Act and the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act (2019-S-5)
In general, DMV is appropriately allocating, billing, and collecting nearly all the expenses related to administering the acts. However, auditors identified areas for improvement.

New York State Health Insurance Program: UnitedHealthcare: Reasonable and Customary Reimbursement Rates for Delayed Claims (2018-S-60)
United's automated claims processing system uses only the two most recent rate periods (i.e., reimbursement rates from the prior 12 months) to process all claims – even claims for services that occurred before those rates took effect. From a sample of 100 claims, auditors calculated a potential cost savings of $214,008 for 84 claims that were paid using a rate period that was not in effect on the date of the service.

New York State Health Insurance Program: Empire BlueCross: Improper Payments for Special Items Billed by Hospitals Within Long Island Health Network (LIHN) (2017-S-43)
Auditors found Empire did not pay for special item claims according to the terms of its contract with LIHN. From a sample of 874 claims, Empire overpaid LIHN hospitals $3,597,688 for 722 special item claims (83 percent of the claims sampled). As of July 23, 2019, Empire had recovered $262,467.

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA): Use of Vendor-Supported Technology (2019-S-40)
NFTA officials have not developed policies and procedures to ensure that its systems are regularly reviewed and kept up to date. Auditors identified unsupported systems used by NFTA on 66 devices.

Homes and Community Renewal: Office of Rent Administration (ORA): Collection of Fines Related to Tenant Complaints (2018-S-58)
Auditors found ORA lacks proper fiscal controls over fines and settlements. There is limited assurance that all monies due the state are received and accounted for because of system, process, and policy weaknesses. ORA does not exercise its full authority to collect outstanding fines more timely. As of April 2019, there were at least $346,000 in outstanding fines. Harassment fines were imposed in only 12 out of the 684 harassment cases (2 percent) filed during the audit scope.

New York City Department of Social Services: Oversight of Security Expenses in Single Adult and Adult Family Homeless Shelters (Follow-Up) (2019-F-31)
An audit issued in May 2018 found that DHS lacks strong internal controls – most notably DHS-specific standard operating procedures. A review of four sampled providers’ security expenditures alone identified nearly $2.2 million in insufficiently documented or questionable security expenses, indicating that significant monitoring gaps exist. In a follow-up, auditors found DHS officials have made progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial report.

Department of Health (DOH): Oversight of Obesity and Diabetes Prevention Programs (Follow-Up) (2019-F-43)
An audit issued in September 2018 identified opportunities for improved oversight, particularly regarding contractor performance, of the state’s obesity and diabetes prevention programs. In a follow-up, auditors found DOH officials have made significant progress in correcting the problems identified in the initial report.

Department of Health: Wadsworth Center Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) (2018-S-1)
Auditors identified opportunities to improve documentation of on-site assessments, for which Wadsworth has taken corrective action. However, auditors did not find a significant amount of other non-compliance with ELAP procedures and protocols in the areas reviewed that would cause us to question the sufficiency of Wadsworth’s processes for certifying, monitoring, and enforcing regulations over environmental laboratories.

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