Boston Herald: Editorial: Failing this checkup
June 22, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Boston Herald.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump says MassHealth, the state agency that provides health care coverage for the poor, wasted $500 million in duplicative and unnecessary payments for medical services over a five-year period. But MassHealth insists it really only shelled out $60 million that it wasn’t required to.
...Bump’s recent audit of MassHealth’s managed care program shines a light on what tends to be a rather dark place — the internal controls of a massive government bureaucracy....Whether it’s food stamps, unemployment or MassHealth — where Bump has previously identified costly administrative shortcomings — the state too often has proven unequal to the task of responsible management.
Read more from the Boston Herald.
NECN: Broadside: Major Medicaid Overpayments?
June 17, 2015 - The following content originally aired on NECN.
Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump discusses the findings that over five years, $500 million was spent on improper or unnecessary payments and $233 million was spent in duplicate payments for services.
Watch all of Auditor Bump's interview here.
Boston Globe: State audit finds Medicaid spent $500m needlessly
June 16, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Boston Globe
The state’s Medicaid program spent more than $500 million over five years on improper or unnecessary payments, according to a state audit released Tuesday.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump asserts that the state paid for services that should have been covered by the health insurers it contracts with to manage care. “It is troubling to see this amount of inefficiency,” Bump said.
The $500 million amounts to about 1 percent of total Medicaid spending over the five-year period studied, Oct. 1, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2014.
Bump said Tuesday’s findings represented the largest amount of questionable payments the auditor’s office has detected in 27 years.
Read more from the Boston Globe
6/1615 - Boston Herald
6/16/15 - Springfield Republican
6/16/15 - NECN
6/16/15 - Boston Business Journal
6/16/15 - AP
6/16/15 - WWLP
6/16/15 - WWLP
6/16/15 - Boston Magazine
6/17/15 - Modern Healthcare
Brockton Enterprise: State: Brockton nonprofit ‘improperly’ documented alcohol, tobacco purchases
May 19, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Brockton Enterprise
One of the region’s largest nonprofits failed to adequately document $1.4 million in services and improperly charged $18,593 for restaurant meals, alcohol and tobacco, according to a state audit.
Auditor Suzanne Bump released the results of a 10-month review of Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc. last Thursday. The audit looked at activities and spending at the social service agency from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013.
Anthony Simonelli, CEO of BAMSI, said in response that his organization has pledged to improve certain documentation practices, but denied that BAMSI spent state money inappropriately.
Read more from the Brockton Enterprise
Springfield Republican: Fighting welfare fraud - state Auditor Suzanne Bump wants subpoena power
May 27, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump is asking for subpoena power to use in welfare fraud investigations.
Bump filed a bill, which is pending before the Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary, that would give her office's Bureau of Special Investigations administrative subpoena authority - the same power to compel documents that the state currently has in other civil proceedings.
Read more from the Springfield Republican.
Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump Visits Worcester State University
May 13, 2015 - The following content was originally published on the Worcester State University website
Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump recently visited Worcester State University to share her story of becoming the first female State Auditor in Massachusetts’s history and to talk with students about politics, world experiences, and volunteer service.
“Working together is key,” said Auditor Bump, recalling her personal experiences of working with those whose opinions she did not agree with. She also emphasized the importance of listening to the opinions of others and considering alternative views, and how these life skills have positively influenced her career.
Read more from Worcester State University student Kayleigh Berger.
Boston Globe: Opinion: Without Pacheco Law, can we trust the MBTA to undertake privatization?
May 7, 2015 - The following content is from an Opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which was originally published on bostonglobe.com.
The “Pacheco Law” has been cited as an obstacle to the goal of a more efficient, less costly mass transit system for Boston. As the state official charged with ensuring that plans for having private companies run certain government operations meet the requirements of that law, I find such statements baffling.
If government is to act more like a business, as I believe it should, then long-range planning, effective allocation of assets, and a focus on outcomes should be among management’s priorities. Too often across state government, not just at the MBTA, this is not the case. Our audits illustrate that many agencies poorly manage resources and operations and lack the wherewithal to engage in continuous improvement. Too rarely are operational decisions based on rigorous cost-benefit analysis. Sometimes political philosophy or raw politics dictate how agencies serve their public.
When a government operation is privatized, taxpayers are still on the hook. The private company gets paid for doing the work formerly done by state employees. In the interest of accountability, the Pacheco Law ensures that taxpayers and consumers of government services benefit from privatization.
WBZ: Keller @ Large: Auditor Suzanne Bump on Government Accountability
May 3, 2015 - The following content originally appeared on WBZ-TV.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump sat down with WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller to talk about government accountability and sexism in politics.
Watch both parts of Auditor Bump's interview here.
Springfield Republican: Massachusetts auditor: MassHealth improperly paid $3.5 million to personal care attendents
April 23, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
A new audit by Massachusetts auditor Suzanne Bump identified $3.5 million in questionable, unallowable or potentially fraudulent medical claims for personal care attendants, paid through Massachusetts' Medicaid program.
Most of the improper spending - $3.3 million - came from MassHealth reimbursing personal care attendants for taking care of around 450 patients who were already receiving 24-hour care through an adult foster care program. Bump wrote that MassHealth should put in place safeguards to make sure that it is not double-paying by paying for both foster care and a personal care attendant.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Springfield Republican: State auditor: Homeless programs costing communities $13 million annually
April 22, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
Local communities are losing $13 million annually in lost tax revenue and increased education costs in coping with two state homeless programs, according to a report released Wednesday by the state auditor.
Auditor Suzanne Bump estimated those costs to surpass $24 million by the end of fiscal year 2016.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
4/22/15 - Patriot Ledger
4/22/15 - Salem News
4/22/15 - Springfield Republican (Holyoke)
4/22/15 - Springfield Republican (Chicopee)
4/22/15 - Springfield Republican (Springfield)
4/22/15 - Springfield Republican
4/22/15 - WWLP
4/23/15 - MetroWest Daily News
4/24/15 - Greenfield Recorder
4/24/15 - Springfield Republican (Greenfield)
4/26/15 - Brockton Enterprise
OSA takes over AEA365 to explain large scale evaluations
March 13, 2015
For one week, the American Evaluation Association (AEA) allowed the Massachusetts Office of the State to submit daily articles related to our Chapter 224 Evaluation Work. The American Evaluation Association is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology, and many other forms of evaluation. Each post was originally published on AEA's blog, AEA365. The week of posts detailed important aspects of conducting a a large scale evaluation. Below is a summary of those posts. Please click each title to read the full submission.
Conducting such a large and complex evaluation required the development of a comprehensive evaluation plan capturing all essential pieces of the law. The evaluation design needed to structure all the different topic areas into a logical and concise plan that guides all activities performed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and data analytic experts. We proposed a longitudinal mixed-methods quasi-experimental design for the evaluation, aiming to determine the law’s impact on health care costs, access to health care services and quality of care, the health care workforce, and the impact on public health. Another important task to address in the evaluation plan is collecting and securing relevant data that will allow the team to perform both quantitative and qualitative analysis.
In order to capture the broad perspectives of key stakeholders and integrate them with the quantitative analysis, we developed a longitudinal mixed-methods quasi-experimental design for our work in this complex evaluation. This mixed-methods approach is designed to answer Chapter 224 high-level evaluation questions. Activities include:
- open-ended semi-structured interviews through an online survey with key stakeholders.
- In-depth semi-structured interviews as follow-up with selected key stakeholders based on their responses to the online survey.
- face-to-face in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore selected stakeholders interpretation of the quantitative analysis results
For our Chapter 224 work, we are in various stages of accessing and securing data. These data sets include administrative data (e.g. the All Payer Claims Database (APCD) from the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) and survey data such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) from the MA Department of Public Health. In this post we shared some lessons we have learned.
Using administrative data with a significant number of missing key variables (e.g. race/ethnicity) can be challenging in trying to answer specific evaluation questions. One of our research questions seeks to evaluate the impact of Chapter 224 on racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes. Both administrative data sets available to us (the Massachusetts Medicaid Program (MassHealth) and the All Payer Claims Database (APCD)) have sparsely populated information about race and/or ethnicity. Since we were not able to apply imputation techniques due to the large number of missing values, we have to use alternative methods. As a proxy for race/ethnicity data, we used US Census Bureau Data and GIS mapping software.
A strategy that has been used successfully to investigate the effect of policy changes over time on population outcomes is Interrupted Time-Series (e.g. Ramsey, et al., 2003). Since our project requires us to collect multiple data points previous to the implementation of the Chapter 224 law, as well as several points after, Interrupted Time-Series, for aggregate data, will allow us to determine whether the health care costs containment intervention has an effect significantly greater than a secular trend. By using this method, we will be primarily testing the change in the slope of data trends as a function of Chapter 224.
In order to implement a comprehensive evaluation on the impact of Chapter 224, our research team is committed to find the most effective statistical procedures to use in order to create a solid baseline that can lead to a sound quantitative analysis of the entire longitudinal project. One of the procedures we found useful is predictive modeling.
Predictive modeling is a process of fitting a statistical model based on existing relationships among variables and making an informed prediction for future behavior(s). In our study, a primary goal is to find the trend or pattern of our variables using a number of data points before the implementation of Chapter 224 (prior to implementation in 2012) as a baseline. We then use the parameter estimates of the baseline to predict the values after 2013. A solid baseline with predicted values will be compared with the actual data once we conclude the longitudinal quantitative analysis.
Given the wide scope of the Chapter 224 evaluation project, the research team needed to tap into the healthcare community for its advice, perspectives, and feedback. To this end, we assembled an advisory committee comprised of members from the health insurance industry, health care advocates, academia, labor, and professional organizations to gain diverse input.
In addition, stakeholders will be included as research participants in qualitative interviews complementing the quantitative component of the study. Stakeholders who belong to task forces, councils, commissions, agencies, boards and other groups associated with the enactment of Chapter 224 will be asked to participate in a brief on-line survey to assess initial observations and concerns related to the roll out of Chapter 224 legislation.
Boston Herald: Mass. didn’t pursue fed funds to cover inmate medical costs
February 27, 2015: The following content was originally published by the Boston Herald
The state failed to pursue more than $11.6 million in federal reimbursements it could have received for prison inmate health care over a two-year period, according to a state audit released yesterday.
“The Legislature has required MassHealth to take full advantage of available federal reimbursement for inmate medical costs,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump said in a statement, “and now we know how much it is expected to save.”
Read more from the Boston Herald
3/2/15 - Boston Herald: Editorial
Auditor Bump Participates in Go Red for Women
February 4, 2015
Auditor Bump joined Massachusetts legislators to raise awareness about heart disease at the Go Red for Women event sponsored by the Caucus of Women Legislators at the State House.
Springfield Republican: War on Poverty: How much welfare fraud is there in Massachusetts?
February 4, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
How widespread is welfare fraud in Massachusetts?
The office of Auditor Suzanne Bump is in charge of investigating and preventing fraud in public assistance programs through its Bureau of Special Investigations.
"Frankly, welfare fraud is not a lot of dollars. When you consider that in the context of not just the budget, but even in the context of the welfare programs, welfare fraud is not that big a problem," Bump told The Republican/MassLive.com.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Springfield Republican: Springfield to save $1.3 million by refinancing debt
January 14, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
The city of Springfield expects to save $1.36 million between now and 2026 by refinancing old debt.
The state's Municipal Finance Oversight Board, which is chaired by state auditor Suzanne Bump, on Wednesday unanimously approved a request by Springfield to refinance $55 million in debt.
The debt was taken on in 2007 and paid for 20 municipal projects – including water and sewer projects, the purchase of financial software, energy improvements, land acquisition, demolition, library upgrades and school renovations.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Herald News OP-ED: Suzanne Bump: Honored to continue my work as state auditorJanuary 14, 2015: This content was originally published in the Herald News
When most people think of the office of the State Auditor, they think of how we protect taxpayers by accounting for state revenues. They are not likely to link the office to improvements in education, transportation, or child welfare; nor might they think about it as a catalyst for reforms that improve public housing, prevent and detect public benefits fraud, or protect students in occupational schools. Yet, these things occur in the state auditor’s office today.
The opportunity to make government work better is what drives us. Whether a state agency’s mission is to protect kids, provide public assistance, or police the medical profession, our goal is to help it improve its use of public resources and deliver better results.
Read more from the Herald News
Springfield Republican: Mass. auditor calls for more sharing of charter schools' best practices
December 19, 2014: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
A state audit released on Thursday faulted the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's administration of the charter school program, recommending, among other things, that it do a better job in assisting the sharing of charter school's best practices and innovations with traditional public schools.
The report issued by state Auditor Suzanne Bump also called on the state to improve consistency in charter renewals and to improve program accountability and transparency by assuring the accuracy of the information gathered, according to a press release from accompanying the audit.
Springfield Republican: Audit finds $35 million in questionable MassHealth payments, mostly to cover illegal immigrants
December 11, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican.
MassHealth paid out $35 million in reimbursements for health care, mostly for illegal immigrants, that were questionable or were not allowed to be paid for by MassHealth under federal regulations, according to state Auditor Suzanne Bump.
MassHealth costs are split between the federal government and the state. Bump said the problematic expenditures place "an inappropriate burden on taxpayers." And, she said, "We have to get it in line before the federal government tells us we have been wrongly spending money."
Read more from the Springfield Republican
WBZ: I-Team: Mass. Falling Short On Elevator Safety
November 18, 2014 - The following content originally appeared on WBZ.
WBZ covered the audit release.
According to the state auditor’s office, the Department of Public Safety comes up short when it comes to elevator safety.
In a 2010 report, the state found 30 percent of elevators needed new inspections. In the follow-up report released Tuesday, we learned more than 14,000 elevators have expired inspection certificates. That’s 36 percent statewide.
“That is unacceptable,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump said. “The public needs to know that when they set foot in an elevator that they can trust that elevator to safely deliver them up or down.”
Watch the WBZ coverage of the audit release.
Herald News: SouthCoast Business Expo features state auditor, huge participation
October 15, 2014 - The following content was originally published in The Herald News
State Auditor Suzanne Bump spoke at a breakfast Wednesday morning at White’s to kick off the SouthCoast Business Expo, telling the audience about how she brought private business practices in to her agency.
Bump said how well things functioned had been an issue in the state auditor’s office.
The National State Auditors Association gave the office a poor rating in 2011, but Bump moved quickly to get things in hand, she said, terminating or demoting 40 employees and bringing in a certified public accountant.
Read more from The Herald News
10/15/14 - SouthCoast Today
MetroWest Daily News: Audit notes agency missteps
October 14, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the MetroWest Daily News
The man charged with overseeing the state’s $86 million contract for pharmacy services stepped down last year after auditors discovered he was also employed by a private company engaged in the contract, according to a new report.
The former executive director of the Office of Pharmacy Services, retired in 2013 after the potential conflict of interest was discovered, according to an audit released this month by the office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
Boston Magazine: State Auditor Suzanne Bump Digs Into the State’s Health
October 10, 2014 - The following content was originally published in Boston Magazine
State Auditor Suzanne Bump is used to conducting audits, since, of course, that’s her job. But when she and her team decided to audit the state programs and initiatives aimed at combating childhood obesity, it was a whole new ballgame.
“This was a different sort of audit for us because we looked at an effort that was being made across several agencies as well as at the local level,” Bump says. “So that was unique. Simply, what spurred us to do this is that childhood obesity is a serious problem that has cost impact, and we decided it was time to determine whether the programs being created and championed were taking hold in the schools. We wanted to know if the money was well-spent.”
Springfield Republican Editorial: Welfare fraud audit not an excuse to end anti-poverty programs
October9. 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
An audit by the state Bureau of Special Investigations has identified $9.5 million in the fiscal year that just ended in welfare fraud, chiefly in MassHealth.
While critics will whine about the fraud in anti-poverty programs and the cost to taxpayers in identifying such fraud, the bureau also made a point of identifying the return on investment. The entire annual budget for the bureau was $2,182,695. That tallies $4.36 per dollar spent in fiscal year 2014. That’s impressive and a 55 percent improvement over the fraud identified in the previous fiscal year.
“It is important to keep in mind, however, that fraud is not endemic to public benefits programs,” states the report from the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
The answer to welfare fraud isn’t to eliminate programs, just as the answer to counterfeiting isn’t to print less money.
Boston Herald: Bump pushing more access to DTA data
October 8, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Boston Herald
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said her office is pushing for a pipeline to real-time data inside the Department of Transitional Assistance, after the same access into MassHealth files helped her investigators find $9.3 million in fraud across social welfare programs last fiscal year — a whopping 50 percent jump over 2013.
Citing a “difficulty” in getting data from DTA, Bump said her office has honed in on MassHealth, where it uncovered more than $5.5 million in fraud between July 2013 and June, or nearly double the previous year’s number. The probe is being spurred in large part by a newly signed agreement that gives investigators with the auditor’s office a direct line into MassHealth databases, where sophisticated fraud cases can carry big dollar values.
It drove the overall hike in detected fraud from $6.3 million to $9.5 million, according to the report, even though the number of actual cases of people identified as scamming on social welfare systems dropped from 907 to 824.
Taunton Daily Gazette: State audit finds operational deficiencies at Bristol County Superior CourtOctober 6, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Taunton Daily Gazette
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump released an audit of the Bristol County Superior Court on Monday that identifies what it says are several operational deficiencies, including weaknesses in evidence-tracking and financial management.
The audit reports that Bristol County Superior Court — where serious felonies such as murder and drug trafficking are adjudicated — failed to maintain a detailed record of evidence, and that it also lacks an adequate tracking system to monitor the location of case files when cases are removed from the secured storage area. In addition, Bump’s review also found that the clerk’s office was not safeguarding cash collected throughout the day, creating a risk that the state may not receive all the funds to which it is entitled and money could be lost or stolen and such occurrences would not be detected in a timely manner.
The audit recommends that the clerk’s office update its evidence log, reconcile evidence in its custody and ensure that an adequate tracking system is in place to monitor the removal and return of case papers, as well as keeping backup copies of each case file.
Read more from the Taunton Daily Gazette
Boston Business Journal: Report: Massachusetts fight against childhood obesity isn't over
September 30, 2014 - This content was originally published in the Boston Business Journal
In an audit of state childhood obesity programs presented by State Auditor Suzanne Bump on Monday, analysts said the state is doing well to implement school nutrition programs and administer federal funds earmarked for obesity programs, but needs to set standards for school physical education, and encourage more farmer’s markets to use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.\
The state auditor decided to measure how well such programs were working, beginning an audit in November 2012 that looked at obesity-combating programs and regulations from 2009 through 2013.
In the report, issued Sept. 26, analysts recommended that the Department of Public Health collaborate with schools to collect more BMI data and to help the schools adapt BMI policies. Parents should also have a means of opting their child out of the program. The legislature should also consider amending state laws to mandate 30 minutes of physical activity for elementary school kids, and 45 minutes for middle and high school kids each school day in public schools, the report says.
9/30/14 - The Boston Herald
Lexington Minuteman: State releases audit of Lexington Housing Authority
September 24, 2014: The following content was originally published in the Lexington Minuteman
An audit of the Lexington Housing Authority (LHA) found that the agency was in compliance of all but one performance objective defined by the State Auditor’s Office.
Audit performance testing found that the LHA overestimated its payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for the town by $3,790 for fiscal years 2012 and 2103 for conventional family and special-needs housing programs. This accounted for more than 3 percent of the agency's total operating budget. The overestimation caused the LHA's financial records and statements to be inaccurate.
Read more from the Lexington Minuteman
Lowell Sun: For Billerica-based special-ed collaborative, mission accomplished
August 27, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Lowell Sun
In Chris Scott's Billerica office hangs the damning 100-page report penned by state Auditor Suzanne Bump detailing the rampant cronyism that had consumed the Merrimack Education Center and allegedly siphoned away $11.5 million from the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative three years ago. Beside it, also inside its frame, is a handwritten note from Bump, commending Scott for cleaning things up.
Read more from the Lowell Sun
Standard Times: State auditor reviews workers' compensation system
August 22, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Standard Times
A new state audit has made recommendations to improve accountability and efficiency in the workers' compensation system.
Bump says the audit has already led to a number of improvements at the department, including the hiring two internal auditors to review insurance assessments. The audit examined fee collections, claims payments, and internal procedures from July 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2012.
Read more from the Standard Times
Berkshire Eagle: Berkshire District Attorney audit uncovers only bookkeeping issues
July 12, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Berkshire Eagle
A state audit of the Berkshire District Attorney’s office has pointed to some areas for recommended improvement while finding good internal control over financial records and appropriate administrative expenses and costs.
The routine audit by the office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump focused on a period from July 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013. Such audits of state entities are conducted approximately every three years, according to a spokesman for the auditor.
Read more from the Berkshire Eagle
The Boston Globe: Audit finds doctors’ criminal cases are underreported
July 2, 2014 – The following content was originally published in the Boston Globe
WGGB reported on the Audit's release.
Massachusetts courts routinely fail to report doctors facing criminal charges to the board that oversees physician discipline, sometimes leaving regulators and the public in the dark, a state audit released Tuesday found.
The law requires the courts to report all such cases to the medical board, which considers whether they warrant board action and, in certain instances, posts the information on its website
Auditor Suzanne Bump said the breakdown in communications between the courts and the board could mean crucial information about doctors does not always become available to the public.
The findings were part of a sweeping review of the board’s activities, covering mostly 2010 to 2012. While the audit found the board was operating well overall, it also faulted the agency’s online physician profiles, which are supposed to help consumers choose a doctor but did not always provide the most useful information.
Read more from the Boston Globe
7/3/14 - WGGB