State auditor: Missouri misspends a small portion of federal money

Apr 4, 2017

Of the $8.4 billion in federal money Missouri saw last fiscal year, a small portion of that was spent in a questionable fashion, Auditor Nicole Galloway said Tuesday.

Her audit focused mostly on oversights concerning Medicaid and child care programs through the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Social Services.

The Department of Mental Health failed to document payments made to group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities. Of the $1.5 million paid to these homes in fiscal year 2016, the $938,000 in federal money was unaccounted for. Galloway said it was the second year in a row for this particular finding, adding up to about $1.6 million.

“As the legislature and governor are making deep cuts, the state simply must do a better job managing taxpayer dollars,” she said at a news conference. “State agencies have an obligation to eliminate waste, and it’s frustrating that we continue to find the same problems year-after-year.”

Also, the Department of Social Services’ Children’s Health Care Program handed out $135 million in federal dollars without adequately verifying whether providers were eligible to receive it. Galloway said that could greatly increase the possibility that tax dollars will go to unauthorized health care providers.

“Taxpayer dollars cannot go to doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who are not eligible to receive payments,” she said. “Scarce resources mean fewer Missouri families and children may be able to access healthcare because of the inefficiencies and waste we continually find.”

Both agencies' responses were included in the report. The Department of Social Services said it partially agreed with the findings, adding that it plans to address them. The Department of Mental Health agreed with the report, pledging ways to fix the issues.  

A complete overview of the audit can be found here.

Follow Krissy Lane on Twitter @krissyrlane​

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