Jan 23, 2013 11:05 AM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The state Department of Health and Hospitals is getting ready to hire an internal inspector general to help it with Medicaid fraud prevention efforts.
The legislative auditor issued a report finding improper payments and falsification of documents in several programs in which it did spot checks. It was the fifth finding of ineffective audit controls in the non-emergency medical transportation program.
DHH Undersecretary Jerry Phillips tells The Advocate the internal inspector general's main role will be to assess risk and devise an Internal Audit Plan for the department.
"The department ... should have an effective internal audit function to examine, evaluate, and report on its internal controls, including information systems, and to evaluate compliance with the policies and procedures that are necessary to maintain adequate controls," Phillips said.
Phillips said the position is expected to be filled by March.
DHH spokeswoman Kristen Sunde said a salary for the position has not yet been set because "the selected inspector general candidate's salary will be commensurate with experience, as with any state position."
Phillips advised Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera that DHH would hire the internal inspector general in a letter responding to an audit of several agency units.
The audit was done to evaluate DHH's accountability over public funds for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.
The auditor identified $17,283 improper payments in a spot test of 188 claims paid in the non-emergency medical transportation program. In the case of the five of the claims, the primary owner of the business admitted signing verification forms as the driver when she was not the driver. An investigative audit is under way to determine the extent of the owner's noncompliance.