Our View: Audit = good government

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:33 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

In today’s era of government’s spending too much and public debt rising in alarming numbers, good-faith audits of government agencies are welcome. An example of good government is an audit of Utah’s Division of Rehabilitation Services that discovered that the state could save up to $612,000 a year with better due diligence and practices.

The Division of Rehabilitation Services, which receives a lot of federal dollars, provides vocational rehabilitation services to those with disabilities which prevent them having meaningful employment.

In a state budget that entails far more than $612,000, a cynic might call the sum tiny. We, however, have a lot of respect for $612,000. To paraphrase the famed author Tom Wolfe, in his novel, “A Man In Full,” find 50, 100 other areas in the stare where $612,000 can be saved a year, and we’ve accomplished a lot.

A chief recommendation of the audit is that the state division use the Medicaid rate of payment for its services, in place of its own rate structure, which is more expensive. Other financial problems the audit found include:

• a recommendation that the division mandate identification documents, including the right to work in the U.S., as part of its oversight,

• problems with direct authorization policy expenditures, which need better oversight and controls. Almost $350,000 in expenditures over three years are questioned because no documentation for the expenses was found.

DRS Director Russell Thelin says that many providers won’t accept Medicaid rates, classifying that as the reason for the higher rate paid. That’s something that needs to be worked out. Perhaps DRS officials can find an acceptable medium between the rate the audit notes, and the rate that most doctors refuse to accept.

We hope state legislators will take the audit seriously and work hard to get costs down as a result. Such a result would be an example of officials, and pols, working hard to save public expenditures.

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