|DHS DIRECTOR CINDY GILLESPIE INDICATES THAT AUDITORS ARE #1 IN HER OPINION|
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports today that several divisions of the Arkansas Department of Human Services have failed repeatedly -- and in one case purposely -- to properly track spending and manage some federally funded programs, legislative auditors reported Friday.
Human Services Department officials blamed high staff turnover and technology changes for many of the 20 deficiencies found in an annual audit report on expenditures of federal awards.
|DHS MOUTHPIECE MARCIE MANLEY CLAIMS WORKERS ARE LEAVING LIKE RATS FROM A SINKING SHIP|
Lawmakers on Friday called the report "shocking," "concerning" and "egregious," questioning whether the state may owe money to the federal government for the more than $126 million in questioned costs flagged by auditors.
The article reported that some infractions had not been corrected since they were first discovered in 2016.
Tami Harlan, deputy director of the Medical Services Division, said the decision was made to pay providers because many were threatening to pull out of the Medicaid program because of the payment lapses caused by the system glitches.
|TAMI HARLIN - DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE DHS MEDICAL SERVICES DIVISION|
Lawmakers also grilled department officials about another auditor finding -- that the department "knowingly" reported inaccurate Children's Health Insurance Program expenditures for the quarter that ended in March 2017.
The agency under-reported spending by more than $10.4 million for the quarter because of a communication breakdown between the Medical Services and accounting divisions.
"Because of this breakdown, managerial accounting purposely reported expenditures from the previous quarter and would knowingly adjust the report at a later date," the report reads.
That finding was problematic for lawmakers.
"How do you knowingly report inaccurate expenses?" said Rep. Fred Love, D-Little Rock.
|ARKANSAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRED LOVE ASKED ABOUT DHS COOKING THEIR BOOKS|
Misty Bowen-Eubanks, the department's interim chief fiscal officer, was asked whether she could assure legislators that the state won't get into financial trouble with the federal government, said it wasn't likely, based on the early stages of the reconciliation process.
|MISTY BOWEN-EUBANKS - DHS INTERIM CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER|
"Early indications show that we will not be in a situation where we owe back money," Bowen-Eubanks said. "In fact, we may be able to make additional withdrawals."
We seriously doubt any top DHS employee could or would tell the truth if their life depended on it.
No wonder DHS is in the bad shape it is in and the citizens of the state and the clients DHS serves suffer due to failed DHS leadership.
Perhaps a new governor can make some much needed changes at DHS.