Boston Globe: Audit hits use of funds by Randolph nonprofit
May 20, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Globe.
The longtime head of a Randolph-based nonprofit that provides services to people with autism and other disabilities was living in Georgia for more than a decade while collecting a six-figure salary and improperly billing the state for personal expenses, according to an audit scheduled to be issued Monday by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
The audit says the May Institute used state funds to reimburse its former president and chief executive, Walter P. Christian, for nearly $140,000 in expenses that Christian should have paid for out of his own pocket, including a home health aide for his wife, day care fees for a grandson, the use of a Chrysler Town & Country minivan in Georgia, and a Chrysler Pacifica that he used when visiting Massachusetts.
The May Institute also failed to report more than $150,000 of Christian’s salary and benefits as taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service and the state Department of Revenue, according to the audit, which was obtained by the Globe before its scheduled release.
Bump’s financial review covers a two-year period — from July 2009 through June 2011 — but Christian, who is not named in the audit, had been running the organization while maintaining his primary residence in Georgia for more than a decade, until retiring in January, according to a spokeswoman for the May Institute.
Read more from the Boston Globe. (pay wall)
State House News: Bump seeks shakeup of board overseeing SouthField development
May 14, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the State House News Service.
The board overseeing a major South Shore development has shown a lack of expertise necessary for a project that will essentially create a small town on an old U.S. Navy base in Abington, Rockland and Weymouth, according to Auditor Suzanne Bump.
“I think that it’s up to the local legislative delegation to work with the community and the Commonwealth, to have a board that provides a better balance of local control and experience and expertise,” Bump told the News Service. “This board is focused on local control to the exclusion of experience and expertise.”
Bump said the South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation Board had not discussed financing options, even though the development corporation had a $158.5 million deficit for its financial obligations, and she said the board had paid $2.3 million over three years without adequate documentation.
South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation CEO Kevin Donovan said the five-person board comprised of a fire lieutenant, a police official, a retired banker, a real estate advisor and Norfolk County Treasurer Joseph Connolly is “most definitely” qualified for the work, and said the Great Recession shared much of the blame for delays in the project.
Counting Change: Businesses must practice what they preach
May 11, 2013 - The following content is from a opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which originally appeared in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Bill Gates didn’t become the richest man in the world without understanding what makes a complex organization successful. So maybe the fact that he has recently joined a chorus of private sector wizards calling on government to operate more like a business should spur some action along these lines.
Business-types want to see more evidence of the effectiveness of public spending strategies. As Gates put it, “in business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count, like customer satisfaction and performance … you thrive on that.”
Just because private enterprise and democratic government serve very different purposes, attention to the bottom line should be no less an imperative for governors than for CEOs. Technological advances are opening new doors for governments to make increasingly better use of its data. Data is behind all the work in the State Auditor’s office, from audits of state agencies to investigations of public benefits fraud, and it helps inform policy-makers’ decisions about how and where to spend public dollars.
When it comes to tax policy, however, the use of metrics and objective analysis is seriously lagging.
Springfield Republican: MassHealth paid for $9 million in unallowable and excessive drug tests
April 29, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump on Tuesday announced an audit of MassHealth, which found thousands of unallowable and unnecessary drug tests that are costing the Commonwealth millions of dollars annually in Medicaid expenses.
Click here to watch news coverage from WWLP Channel 22 Springfield.
MassHealth, with expenditures of over $11 billion, provides access to healthcare services for approximately 1.3 million eligible low- and moderate-income individuals annually. MassHealth pays for drug tests as long as the tests are ordered by a physician who is actively treating the member and is being requested for a medically necessary reason. In FY 2012, MassHealth paid for more than 839,000 drug tests costing the program $18 million. The audit report found millions of dollars spent on excessive drug testing and tests that were not being used for diagnosis, treatment, or other medically necessary reasons.
“Medical testing should only be performed when there is medical necessity,” said Bump. “Clearly millions of dollars has been spent on drug tests that have done little to help addicts in recovery but much to increase revenues for testing companies.”
Springfield Republican Editorial: Massachusetts' crackdown on fraud keeps MassHealth vital
April 21, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
....Fortunately, the state’s response to the abuses has been swift.
Nearly $5.5 million in fraudulent claims for MassHealth and a wide range of other benefits were identified for 2012 by the state auditor’s office. MassHealth is now verifying income and residency of potential recipients and moving to prosecute the perpetrators of the fraud.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump, recently said: “Our investigations into public benefit fraud ensure that a social safety net is in place for those who truly need it.”
We applaud her office and the state’s attorney general’s office for their vigilance in keeping these programs vital and free of fraud.
Their hard work continues to make Massachusetts a model for how to deal with abuses that taint the successes of the state’s first-in-the-nation health care reform act.
04/29/13 - Patriot Ledger
Patriot Ledger: South Shore Collaborative says problems being fixed
April 11, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
The executive director of the South Shore Educational Collaborative says the organization is already working to address accounting problems identified in an audit report from state Auditor Suzanne Bump.
The report, released Tuesday, says the Hingham-based collaborative was found to be using accounting practices that violated state standards, and that it had misclassified about $2 million in revenue and expenses. Executive Director Henry Perrin said the collaborative began addressing some of the issues when it received a draft of the report in January but was waiting to see the final version before implementing some changes.
“We’re going to work on these things and fix them,” he said.
Waltham News Tribune: Waltham election costs could run high
April 8, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Waltham News Tribune.
Waltham could potentially host six elections this year, which would cost the city a bundle, as the price tag for one election is about $60,000, according to the city clerk’s office.
April 30 marks the year’s first election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the special U.S. Senate primary, needed following former Sen. John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State. Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, both U.S. representatives, are running on the Democratic side. The Republican candidates are former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, businessman Gabriel Gomez and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.
The Senate general election is scheduled for June 25...
...Auditor Suzanne Bump has urged state officials to pass legislation to cover costs of what she believes would cost the state about $8.2 million, according to a letter she sent to Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
“My Division of Local Mandates has received numerous calls from local election officials explaining that their communities have not budgeted funds to support their expense, and cannot raise the revenue to do so,” Bump wrote.
Counting Change: Red tape vs. regulations
April 6, 2013 - The following content is from a opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which originally appeared in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
If you have visited the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., you might remember learning that it was originally commissioned for the U.S. Pension Bureau. An architectural novelty, it was designed to be affordable and fireproof and to maximize light and air flow for its office workers and lend majesty to the public events held in its great hall.
Tour guides will also tell you that the modern American usage of the term “red tape” has been attributed to the bureaucracy that managed Civil War pensions behind those red brick walls.
For centuries, red tape was used to bind together important government documents. It provided a visual clue that a package of papers required immediate attention. How ironic it is that the phrase now signifies that which is petty, time-consuming, unfair, illogical, redundant or incomprehensible. That is why pledges to cut red tape are guaranteed applause lines for political aspirants.
In response to a stagnant economy, governors across the country, including Massachusetts, have recently launched initiatives aimed at regulatory relief. Its volume, complexity and changeability hinder progress in both the public and private sectors. Their goal is to reduce red tape’s stranglehold on government efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and transparency, and on economic growth.
Patriot Ledger: State audit finds improper handling of funds for human services
April 4, 2013 - The following content was originally published in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
A state agency that contracts with human services providers, including those on the South Shore, made a habit of improperly distributing taxpayer money to a number of them, a new state audit shows.
The report, released Wednesday by State Auditor Suzanne Bump, is based on a three-year review of 15 organizations that provide services to residents with developmental and behavioral issues. Among the groups audited were the May Institute, based in Randolph, and Vinfen, which offers dozens of programs locally.
The report says that between fiscal years 2009 and 2011 the Department of Developmental Services “lacked transparency” while doling out millions of dollars in emergency reserve money for purposes other than those intended.
“This has been a growing problem within this agency for a number of years,” Bump said.
The Department of Developmental Services sets aside some of its annual budget as an emergency fund meant for one-time use to help service providers with intermittent or unpredictable needs.
Sentinel & Enterprise: Who's watching out for the children?
April 1, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.
"Since we know where all the sex offenders are living, and we know where all the licensed day-care centers are, shouldn't we be able to make sure sex offenders aren't living or working at addresses that house day-care centers?"
It's a great question, and one somebody in Auditor Suzanne Bump's office asked. The auditor's subsequent investigation found 119 cases in which the work, school or residential address of a sex offender matched that of a licensed child-care facility. Scary.
In her report, Bump noted that the Department of Early Education and Care, the state body responsible for licensing child-care providers, is not required to check the Sex Offender Registry to ensure that no sex offenders' work or home addresses matches a child-care facility.
Why not? Why didn't the Department of Early Education and Care ask the same question someone in Bump's office did? Massachusetts has had the Sex Offender Registry for nearly 15 years. The goal of the registry was to provide a valuable tool not only to the public but to state and local officials to identify the whereabouts of sex offenders. It wasn't established only to help moms and dads in the Bay State sleep better at night -- or be more watchful in the event an offender was in the neighborhood.
Regular checks by EEC of the registry -- which Bump recommends in her scathing report -- should have begun Sept. 10, 1999, the day the Sex Offender Registry took effect in Massachusetts. They will be performed now, thanks to Bump's investigation.
Related News and Editorials
04/01/13 - Worcester Telegram
04/02/13 - Worcester Telegram
03/30/13 - Boston Herald
04/01/13 - Boston Herald
04/01/13 - Sentinel & Enterprise
04/06/13 - Patriot Ledger
04/07/13 - Lawrence Eagle Tribune
FOX 25: 119 sex offenders have same address as child care providers
March 27, 2013 - The following content was originally published by Fox 25.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump is asking a state agency to regularly cross-reference the addresses of registered sex offenders and child care providers following disturbing new information revealed in an audit.
The recommendation was made to the Department of Early Education and Care on Wednesday after an audit revealed 119 instances where the address listed for a Level 2 or Level 3 sex offender was the same as an EEC-licensed child care provider.
Bump's office also says that in four of the 119 cases, the EEC revoked the provider's license because its operators had prior knowledge of the registered sex offender status, but did not report it to the department.
While CORI checks are required, the EEC is not required to conduct any Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) checks of or matches of "child care facility operators, workers, or people living in an at-home day care," according to a release from Bump's office.
Boston Globe: Child care centers will be checked for sex offenders
March 27, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Globe.
The state’s top child-care regulator is pledging increased oversight of providers after an audit revealed that four registered sex offenders were living in the same places where day care was being offered.
“Any time we receive suggestions or findings related to safety, we’re going to treat those very seriously,” said Thomas L. Weber, acting commissioner of the state Department of Early Education and Care, which licenses and oversees child-care providers.
Weber was responding to a report released Wednesday by state Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office, which found that 119 sex offenders had addresses that matched the locations of 75 licensed child-care providers.
The offenders referenced in the statewide audit, which spanned the period from July 2010 to September 2011, were classified as Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders, meaning that person is at a moderate to high risk to re-offend.
Investigators, however, found only four of the sex offenders were actually living inside the child-care sites, and those providers’ licenses were revoked immediately, according to Weber.
Read more from the Boston Globe. (pay wall)
Auditor Bump Calls For Safety Reforms at State Child Care Agency
Auditor Bump Makes Case for Tax Break Oversight
Winchester Star: State auditor concludes probe of Housing Authority director
March 19, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Winchester Star.
The state auditor’s office has concluded its investigation of the former executive director of the Winchester Housing Authority, who was accused of working as a full-time lawyer for low-income clients while on the clock at the authority.
The audit found that in addition to holding a second full-time career, Joseph M. Lally also may have been a poor manager for the authority, which is a state agency but reports to the Winchester Board of Selectman.
“This audit does not only raise questions of the former executive director’s honesty, but also his management of the authority,” State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said in a press release Tuesday. “For a staff to be properly guided and the needs of its tenants met, the housing authority deserves a leader who is not absent a quarter of the time.”
Lally resigned from the agency in October after newspaper investigations determined he was practicing attorney working for the publicly funded Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) and may have been providing legal services to clients while on the clock at the authority. Lally has since been replaced by John W. Hurd, former executive director of the Medfield Housing Authority.
03/23/13 - Boston Globe
Springfield Republican: Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump flags $1.3 million in questionable Medicaid dental billings
March 13, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican
A state audit on Tuesday found thousands of questionable and possibly medically-unnecessary claims for dental services through the state's Medicaid program.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said many of the claims are not allowed and cost MassHealth about $1.3 million. The audit covered dental claims from January 2008 through June 2011 that stemmed from services to eligible low- and moderate-income recipients.
Suzanne Bump says the state's Medicaid program needs to start detecting questionable Medicaid claims by dentists.
It was Bump's fifth audit since 2010 on the MassHealth dental system. In all, she has found $7.5 million in questionable billings by dentists.
03/12/13 - AP Boston
Springfield Republican: Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump talks health care savings during visit to Springfield
March 6, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
MassHealth, the state's health care program for the poor, is now verifying the income and residency of potential recipients within 45 days of application for benefits, state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump told members of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield on Wednesday.
"That was something they told us they could not do," Bump said. "Last week they told us they will do it."
Back in October, Bump's office found that MassHealth was covering people who had enough income to get their own health care, including people who were making what she called a nice living cashing in lottery tickets either from their own gambling or on behalf of people who were trying to avoid tax and child-support obligations.
MassHealth has since gained access to the state lottery database to cross check, Bump said.