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December 13, 2023

State and other entity audits released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

On December 13, 2023, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced audits of the following State and other entities were issued.

Click on the text highlighted in color to access both the summary and the complete audit report

 

Department of Motor Vehicles – Language Access Services (2022-S-38)
A statewide language access policy to assist Limited English Proficiency individuals and provide equal access to government programs and services requires State agencies that provide direct public services, including the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to provide interpretation services and to translate vital documents into the most common non-English languages in the State based on census data. Auditors determined that due to gaps in the Executive Law, DMV does not have sufficient authority to enforce its language access policies at office locations operated by County Clerks, despite these offices accounting for over 75% of the total customer-facing DMV offices. In addition, auditors determined that DMV’s contracted interpretation vendor was not providing on-demand interpretation services for all languages and dialects needed, and calls for 20 different languages had an average hold time of over 30 minutes. Further, office locations operated by DMV cited issues with dialects and disconnected calls as well as a lack of interpreters.

 

Department of Health – Medicaid Claims Processing Activity October 1, 2022 Through March 31, 2023 (2022-S-36) During the six-month period ended March 31, 2023, eMedNY processed over 233 million claims, resulting in payments to providers of nearly $45 billion. OSC’s audit of Medicaid claims processing activity identified over $20.6 million in improper Medicaid payments for claims that were not processed in accordance with Medicaid requirements. The audit also identified three providers in the Medicaid program who were charged with or found guilty of crimes that violated laws or regulations governing certain health care programs. The Department of Health removed two of the providers from the Medicaid program; the remaining provider was under the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General’s review.

 

City University of New York – Course Offerings (Follow-Up) (2023-F-7)
Based on City University of New York (CUNY) data, many full-time students studying toward a bachelor’s degree do not graduate within four to six years of first-time enrollment. A prior audit, issued in September 2020, found that CUNY was not effectively matching course offerings to student demands, comprehensively tracking students’ use of financial aid, monitoring their graduation rates, or formally surveying students to consider their feedback when preparing course schedules. The follow-up found that, while CUNY deployed new applications to facilitate course scheduling and registration; offered more online, hybrid, weekend, and off-hour courses; and implemented a new communication system between students and department advisors; it did not formally survey students for their feedback. Of the initial report’s seven recommendations, two were implemented, three were partially implemented, and two were not implemented.

 

Office of Addiction Services and Supports – Oversight of Chemical Dependence Residential Services (Follow-Up) (2023-F-17)  The Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) oversees prevention, treatment, and recovery programs, including community residential programs, which provide supervised services to individuals transitioning into abstinent living, and supportive living programs intended for those who have completed treatment and are transitioning to independent living but do not require on-site staff on a 24-hour basis. A prior report, issued in December 2021, found OASAS did not adequately monitor the programs, did not meet the recertification review requirements, and did not always conduct appropriate follow-up of programs to verify that all deficiencies had been addressed. The follow-up found that OASAS made progress addressing the issues identified during the initial audit: of the three recommendations, two were implemented and one was no longer applicable.

 

Department of Environmental Conservation – Oversight of New York State Forest Tax Programs (Follow-Up) (2023-F-18) To encourage the long-term management of privately owned woodlands to sustainably produce forest crops and increase the likelihood of both healthy forests and a stable forest economy, New York enacted Real Property Tax Law 480a – a tax incentive program for qualifying private forest landowners. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has general oversight responsibility for the program. A prior report, issued in April 2022, found monitoring and enforcement weaknesses in DEC’s oversight of the program that undermined its ability to ensure program forest lands continue to be protected and that only eligible properties receive local tax exemptions. Additionally, for the 795 properties spanning 260,669 acres under the program, landowners had been benefiting from local tax reductions for over 45 years, but the properties were largely unmonitored by DEC or localities. The follow-up found that DEC made progress in addressing the issues identified during the initial audit, partially implementing both of the initial report’s recommendations.

 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority—Long Island Rail Road – Rolling Stock Programs Department – Selected Aspects of the M9 Rail Car Project Management (Follow-Up) (2023-F-10) In 2013, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) awarded a contract to procure new M9 rail cars to replace its M3 cars and expand its fleet in preparation for service into Grand Central Terminal, budgeting $355.9 million for an initial base order of 92 cars. A prior report, issued in March 2022, found that LIRR was over budget by $8.9 million and the contractor was behind schedule for the delivery of all 92 base cars by nearly three years—the first cars weren’t delivered until September 2019 and, as of July 2020, only 64 cars had been delivered. Furthermore, LIRR did not assess the contractor for the allowed liquidated damages, which totaled $5.5 million as of September 2020, and all 64 cars were delivered with defects and deficiencies, but LIRR conditionally accepted them (allowed as long as the deficiencies do not affect safety or function) and put them into service. The follow-up found that LIRR assessed $4.9 million of the liquidated damages by withholding payment but, to date, no repairs have been completed, and no date has been set to start the repairs. Of the initial 12 recommendations, three were implemented, three were partially implemented, and six were not implemented.

 

State Education Department (Preschool Special Education Audit Initiative) – Handicapped Children’s Association of Southern New York, Inc. – Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2022-S-49) Handicapped Children’s Association of Southern New York, Inc. (HCA), a Johnson City-based not-for-profit organization, is approved by the State Education Department (SED) to provide preschool special education itinerant teacher services to children with disabilities who are between the ages of three and four years. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, HCA reported approximately $1.9 million in reimbursable costs for the SED preschool cost-based program. Auditors identified $66,009 in reported costs that did not comply with requirements.

 

Department of Health – Improper Managed Care Payments for Misclassified Patient Discharges (2023-F-26) Many of the State’s Medicaid recipients receive their services through managed care, whereby the Department of Health (DOH) pays managed care organizations (MCOs) a monthly premium for each enrolled recipient and, in turn, MCOs pay for services their members require. When billing an MCO for an inpatient stay, the codes the hospital uses are important because payments may vary significantly depending on whether a patient is transferred or discharged. An initial report, issued in August 2022, identified from a judgmental sample of 166 claims totaling $2,474,162, that 47 claims were overpaid $323,531 because they were incorrectly coded as discharges when the patients were actually transferred to another facility. Further, 13 claims, totaling $101,447, were incorrectly billed as inpatient claims when outpatient services were actually provided. The follow-up found DOH made minimal progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial audit report, implementing none of the five recommendations.

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