JFAC this morning is continuing its full week of health and human services budget hearings; up first this morning was the Indirect Support Services division of the state Department of Health & Welfare. Budget writers quizzed H&W Deputy Director David Taylor about past years’ audit findings regarding use of federal funds in the division. “You know that part of our responsibility, whether it’s federal dollars or state, is to see that it’s spent appropriate,” said JFAC Co-Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. “Some of these findings are clear back in 2011, that’s true, but that seems ample enough time to have resolved some of ‘em or more. So I would encourage you to focus on it. We’re going to pay closer attention to it as well, and rightfully so.” JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Rupert, said the joint committee will look at open audit findings from all agencies as they come in for their budget hearings.
The division won a national award for its Women, Infants and Children Information Systems, or WISPr program, in the past year. It’s seeing rising fees for criminal background checks; is working on required modernization to Medicaid information systems to comply with federal laws; and is requesting four new staffers for its welfare fraud investigation unit, which Gov. Butch Otter has recommended. Its Medicaid Program Integrity Unit hasn’t met its target to save $1.18 million to the general fund for the current year, but it’s saved $600,000, and providers owe another $4.9 million; some are paying over time.
Also up this morning: Independent councils, the Commission on Aging, public health districts, Veterans Services and the Office of Drug Policy.