MDHS Executive Director Robert G. “Bob” Anderson issued a Request for Information (RFI) today to select an accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit of the agency. The issuance represents another example of his commitment to ensure transparency and accountability.
“Governor Reeves selected me to ensure the Department of Human Services takes every measure possible to provide tangible help for the people who need it most,” Anderson said. “This audit will provide us the opportunity to see what should be sustained and what areas need the most improvement.”
“The single-audit report released today clearly demonstrates the amount of damage and coercion perpetrated by John Davis against this agency and the people of Mississippi,” Anderson said. “This audit, while covering multiple years, still makes it obvious that we need a complete, forensic audit to look at all aspects of the agency so we can move forward and put the past behind us.”
A forensic audit is designed to focus on reconstructing past financial transactions for a specific purpose, such as concerns of fraud. This is separate from an annual single audit that the Office of the State Auditor conducts of all state agencies as part of the normal course of its duties. An annual single audit is typically focused more on compliance and/or the performance of the agency.
Anderson added that his office will oversee the forensic audit, while working with the Office of the State Auditor as needed.
Anderson was selected to lead the agency by Governor Tate Reeves on March 4, 2020. He brings to the agency more than 25 years of investigating and litigating white collar crime, public corruption and fraud. This includes serving as Director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Chief Integrity Officer for the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, and Special Assistant Attorney General with the Public Integrity Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.
Beginning in August 2019, MDHS leadership has made significant efforts to shape policies and improve internal controls to enforce transparency and accountability for subgrantees and RFPs. Among those include:
- The State TANF Plan has been rewritten to include the stipulation that no TANF funds will be dispersed to non-state agencies without going through the competitive procurement process.
- The agency’s Subgrantee Manual has been revised to strengthen controls, to include requiring general ledgers to be included with all outcome reporting, mandating that financial monitoring visits be conducted annually.
- Risk assessments are now performed before subgrants are awarded.
- Programmatic monitoring will be conducted on a minimum of bi-annual basis.
- Subgrantees are all given training at the State Office to make sure they have a clear understanding of the agency’s expectations of them and how they can ensure they meet all federal guidelines.
- Technical assistance is provided to high risk or any other subgrantees who request such.
- MDHS created the Office of Inspector General to coordinate Internal Audit and Investigations to best identify and eliminate any potential cases of fraud or criminal activity.
- Subgrantees now receive claim reimbursement instead of cash advances after initial draw. This allows MDHS to determine how the funds are being spent before we disperse the funds.
- TANF sub-grantees are now required to submit programmatic reports by the 10th of each month that details individuals served, and services received. No reimbursement claim form is processed until after programmatic reports are received.
- Programmatic reports are required to contain unique identifying information to allow the agency to track long term outcomes for individuals served.
In addition, Anderson created the position of Chief Compliance Officer to ensure the agency and employees follow the laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices that apply to the agency, thereby detecting and preventing violations of rules. The Compliance Office will also take on responsibility for quality control reviews and monitoring of subgrantees in a partnership role with the Office of Inspector General. The Chief Compliance Officer arrives May 1, 2020.
Anderson said these measures will allow the agency to move forward and separate from past indiscretions and will serve to make the agency’s oversight functions more robust.
“The forensic audit and the addition of a compliance office will help us identify any weak spots in policies or procedures that need to be modified to prevent fraud, waste and abuse,” he said. “We intend to move forward as an agency and conduct the work we are charged with performing while maintaining transparency and accountability.”
For the most recent updates MDHS business opportunities, go to https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/solicitation/.
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