Arkansas Health Department Audit Identifies $350,000 in Mismanaged Expenses in AIDS Division, Preliminary Findings Show
December 20, 2004
Auditors from the Arkansas Department of Health have identified almost $350,000 in "questionable, inappropriate or insufficiently documented" expenses, according to initial findings from an audit of the department's AIDS division, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (Smith, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 12/17). The health department earlier this year began investigating its AIDS division to determine whether some of the $8.2 million it receives in federal funding for medications and other services was mismanaged by division employees. The investigation -- prompted by questions from the Democrat-Gazette about a travel account audit that showed four employees were inappropriately paid more than $17,000 without full receipt documentation -- already has caused the group to make staff changes and tighten policy. The health department in October terminated the contract of one organization that received federal funding because the group could not account for $53,592 of its program expenses. In addition, a Democrat-Gazette review of the division's spending found that a health department employee who coordinated the disbursement of most of the division's grant money provided funding to two organizations that employed her husband. Arkansas law forbids state employees from using their positions "to secure special privileges" for their spouses. The department also is investigating an increase in funding going to organizations that could not document their work. Health officials blame a gap in the department's grant monitoring for failing to notice problems (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/8).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.