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U.S. News

Pennsylvania: Audit Alleges Waste in Local AIDS Funding

May 14, 2010

A report from the Pennsylvania Auditor General's Office contends that the Philadelphia Health Department accrued more than $700,000 in waste, abuse and fraudulent spending in its stewardship of state HIV/AIDS money. The audit of 11 of 60 state-paid contractors doing this work found fault only with PHD, which receives about half the state's AIDS prevention dollars.

Among examples of spending deemed inappropriate:

  • A $7,500 trip to a waterpark for college students attending an HIV awareness program
  • $2,200 for food at three HIV/AIDS discussions held at a local university
  • $13,000 for T-shirts for an HIV/AIDS event
  • $64,000 for which there was no documentation
  • $2,100 paid as $100 stipends to 21 HIV-positive persons who completed Philadelphia FIGHT's "TEACH Outside" post-incarceration program.
  • $223,000 in duplicate invoices submitted to the state by PHD.

Nan Feyler, PHD's chief of staff, said the double-invoicing was the "completely accidental" consequence of a personnel change at the time. She noted that almost 30 other invoices went unpaid by the state, which evened out the funding. "We have reconciled with the state and received written assurance that there's no reimbursement necessary," she said.

Feyler said that even before it received the audit, PHD was working to improve its funding practices. "At the time, we were not requiring entities we contract with to provide information about their subcontractors and the expenditures made, and we're now requiring such documentation, including back-up invoices and setting up a standard for incentives. What this was for us was a wake-up call, and we're already in much better shape."

However, both Feyler and Philadelphia FIGHT's Executive Director Jane Shull defended the payments to "TEACH Outside" graduates. "The use of stipends and incentives is extremely well-established in scientific literature and is something that is known to be effective across many public health interventions, not just HIV," said Shull, who has invited Auditor Jack Wagner to the program's next graduation event.

Back to other news for May 2010

Adapted from:
Philadelphia Gay News
05.13.2010; Jen Colletta

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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.
See Also
HIV/AIDS in the Mid-Atlantic