A recent city audit of contracts with various HIV treatment and prevention groups during 2009-11 found gaps in oversight, double-billing mistakes, and other inadequacies. Of the eight contracts for $3.2 million in HIV services awarded, the sample of three audited totaled $1.4 million.
Auditors found no evidence of fraud. However, the public HIV clinic David Power Health Center double-billed $31,561. Staff members missed some duplicates when they had to manually enter billing, said Leslee Froehlich, COO of CommUnityCare, the system that includes the center. A computerized system now in operation catches such errors, and the amount double-billed will be deducted from future payments, she said. The second contractor audited, Austin Travis County Integral Care, double-billed about $3,264. No duplicate billings were found for a contract with AIDS Services of Austin.
On the city side, contract renewals lagged and business was conducted without contracts "more than 30 percent of the time," the audit said. Data for payment and service monitoring were at times inaccurate or incomplete, it said. In addition, "prior leadership" at the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department directed staff members not to monitor contracts awarding federal money "due to other priorities," said the report dated this month.
The health department's director since last August, Carlos Rivera, concurred with the audit and said new procedures being put in place will solve the problems.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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