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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Audit Offers Guidance to California on Stimulus

SACRAMENTO (CN) - The California State Auditor found room for improvement when it comes to spending federal stimulus dollars on education and health care.

The annual report details how the Departments of Education, Health Care Services, Community Services and Development, and the State Treasurer's Office managed federal money from President Barack Obama's 2009 Recovery Act.

Its analysis focused on cash management, eligibility for federal programs and use of the funds by individual counties.

State Auditor Elaine Howle found that the Department of Education, which received nearly $3.1 billion in federal funds, "has not adequately pursued corrective action from local educational agencies." That department also has no control over an online monitoring system used to track education funding, the 19-page audit states.

Howle also took issue with the Department of Health Care Services, noting that the agency did not properly track information related to uninsured pregnant women who applied for temporary Medi-Cal benefits.

Medical providers in California are required to submit a weekly summary of "presumptively eligible" Medi-Cal patients, but Hewlett-Packard, Which processes Medi-Cal payments, does not track eligibility in its systems, the report found.

"As a result, Health Care Services does not know whether Medi-Cal payments being made for presumptively eligible women are for women actually enrolled by medical providers," the report said.

The auditor's report also detailed mismanagement of funds in the Department of Community Services and Development and the Office of the State Treasurer.

Among other findings, Community Services did not closely monitor how counties spent federal funds meant for low-income Californians, and the treasurer did not submit certified payrolls from contractors that ensure workers are paid prevailing wages, the report said.

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