From the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:
Raleigh, N.C. – N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Internal Audit will be expanded from eight people to 40 to increase accountability and efficiency. These positions will be created by shifting and utilizing existing vacant positions in other areas of the Department without creating any net new jobs overall. DHHS is one of the largest departments in state government and has an annual operating budget of more than $18 billion.
“The staffing for the Office of Internal Audit has not kept up with the growth of the Department and its budget,” said Dr. Wos. “In light of recent challenges in the Department, particularly with unexpected shortfalls in Medicaid, DHHS is improving internal accountability and oversight to ensure the most efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.”
In FY2012-2013, North Carolina’s Medicaid program had $485 million in unexpected shortfalls due to forecasting and other errors. Traditionally, the Department has been a year or more behind on its annual audits of key program areas, making it difficult for Department leadership to make important budget and reform decisions.
The Office of Internal Audit is led by Chet Spruill, CPA, who joined the Department in the spring. Key duties of the expanded office will include providing DHHS leadership with independent reviews and analyses of various functions and services including operational performance, compliance and financial audits, as well as other special reviews and investigations to prevent and detect waste, mismanagement, misconduct, fraud and abuse.
Spruill is developing a risk assessment process and working with leadership to develop risk profiles to help identify areas where auditors’ efforts need to be focused. “We’ll be conducting interviews and surveys to solicit feedback about areas of concern and problems that need to be addressed,” he said. “We will prioritize and tackle those areas where there is the greatest financial risk for the state as well as focus on areas where significant improvement is needed.”
The Office of Internal Audit also will perform follow-up reviews of State Auditor recommendations; conduct independent analyses of program economy and efficiency; and advise in development of performance measures, standards and procedures for evaluation of departmental operations.