Springfield Republican: Suzanne Bump on point with MassHealth audit: Editorial
April 22, 2016 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican
The job of the state auditor includes surveillance to uncover waste and fraud. In this respect, Suzanne Bump deserves credit for her diligence in reviewing MassHealth practices.
MassHealth costs amount to about 40 percent of the entire state budget. A system that large is prone to abuse and lack of oversight, which is where the auditor's office comes in.
The questionable claims are sizable in terms of dollar amount but less than 4 percent of the total MassHealth cost. But Bump is correct in saying the matter goes beyond bottom-line concerns and to the heart of public trust that is being violated.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
4/20/16 - Boston Business Journal
4/20/16 - Boston Herald
4/20/16 - Boston Magazine
4/20/16 - Springfield Republican
4/20/16 - State House News Service/Lowell Sun
4/20/16 - WWLP-22 News
The Sun Chronicle: Franklin health equipment provider overbilled state by half-million dollars
April 19, 2016 - The following content was originally published by The Sun Chronicle.
A Franklin company overbilled the state by more than a half-million dollars and is now working to repay the funds.
Auditor Suzanne M. Bump released an audit Tuesday of Hudson Home Health Care, a provider of durable medical
equipment, which found that improper billing practices resulted in $557,006 in overpayments from MassHealth for wheelchair components.
Read more from The Sun Chronicle
WWLP/SHNS: Cities and towns becoming more dependent on local money
April 7, 2016 - The following content was originally published by State House News Service and WWLP - 22 News.
Over five years ending in December, the Legislature passed 97 new laws with a “significant financial impact” on cities and towns, and over that same period the percentage of municipal budgets funded by state aid has dipped, Auditor Suzanne Bump found in a comprehensive study.
From fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2015 state aid increased by $467 million to a total of $5.1 billion, but over that same period state aid slipped as a percentage of municipal budget sources from 21.14 percent to 20.22 percent, according to a report on the study that was released Wednesday.
Read more from WWLP
041116 - Amherst Bulletin
WBZ: I-Team: Rhode Island Man Held on Welfare Fraud Charges
April 6, 2016 - The following content was originally published by WBZ.
A Rhode Island man appeared in Attleboro District Court on Tuesday, accused of ripping off Massachusetts taxpayers and illegally collecting welfare benefits while living out of state.
After the I-Team story, the case was referred to the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) in the Office of the State Auditor.
Last year, the investigative unit identified $13.7 million in public benefits fraud, according to an annual report.
Currently, investigators search for multiple out-of-state transactions to find potential welfare fraud. However, Auditor Suzanne Bump is proposing a bill that would give the BSI subpoena power.
Read more from WBZ.
4/6/16: The Sun Chronicle
Bourne Courier: Bourne 'Rec' Authority scores clean state audit
April 5, 2016 - The following content was originally published by the Bourne Courier.
Bourne Recreation Authority in an audit conducted by the Massachusetts State Auditor’s Office scored highly with “adequate controls and practices” in all areas reviewed for fiscal years 2014 and ’15.
Read more from the Bourne Courier.
Springfield Republican: Overbilling, data breach delivers one-two punch to Northgate Medical PC in Springfield
April 4, 2016 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
Just weeks after a state audit found that Northgate Medical P.C. had substantially overbilled MassHealth, the Springfield-based medical group is now dealing with a data breach involving the theft of patient information – including their names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.
A former Northgate employee obtained the patient information before leaving the medical group, according to Northgate officials, who notified patients and urged them to take steps to protect their credit.
The former employee took the information for "marketing purposes," Northgate said in a March 22 statement, "and not for reasons related to identity theft or fraud." Northgate reported the theft of patient information to Springfield police and urged patients to notify credit bureaus and monitor credit reports.
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Greenfield Recorder: State Auditor Suzanne Bump talks addiction, accountability at annual Chamber breakfast
March 25, 2016 - The following content was originally published by the Greenfield Recorder.
For State Auditor Suzanne Bump, increasing the government’s transparency and accountability is the key to earning the public’s trust.
That’s the charge of her office, and it was the prevailing theme of her keynote address at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s annual breakfast Friday morning, where she spoke about the addiction crisis facing the state, her office’s efforts to reduce government waste or ensure resources are properly allocated, and how the public’s trust in government might be restored.
Bump put a special focus on addiction, a topic that’s been front and center in Franklin County and the region for the past two years.
Read more from the Greenfield Recorder
3/25/15 - WWLP
Bay State Banner: Charter waitlists: Cap effect overstated?
March 20, 2016 - The following content was originally published in the Bay State Banner.
The dispute over charter waitlists heightened last week as Citizens for Public Schools, a public education advocacy organization that opposes lifting the charter cap, issued a new assessment of the demand for charter schools. CPS asserts that the actual number of students who seek charter seats and would have greater access to them if the cap is lifted is vastly lower than that cited by charter proponents. Soon after, State Auditor Suzanne Bump weighed in.
Read more from the Bay State Banner.
Capitol Ideas: States Use Data Analytics to Reduce Medicaid Fraud
March 4, 2016 - The following content was originally published in the Council of State Goverments' magazine Capitol Ideas.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump, first elected to office in 2010, concluded in the audit report that $233 million was spent unnecessarily when MassHealth paid providers directly for services that should have been paid by managed care organizations that receive a set amount to cover health care costs for their members. Another $288 million could have been saved if the MassHealth contracts with the managed care organizations were clearer about what services should have been covered.
Bump is proud of the savings the auditor’s office has realized through substantial recoupments and criminal prosecutions, but more important to her are systemic improvements made in state program administration.
“Certainly, audits of providers punish wrongdoing, serve as deterrents to others and lead to recoupments, but the greatest fiscal impact comes about when the MassHealth program is able to improve its operations, for then the benefits are realized over the long term,” she said
Read more from Capitol Ideas.
Springfield Republican: Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump: Theft of more than $45K in client funds from West Springfield mental health center due to 'inadequate' oversight and protections
March 3, 2016 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
Deficiencies in the Gandara Mental Health Center's oversight of client finances, inadequate protections over the agency's own finances, and a lack of supervision on decisions involving staff, board members and related organizations ultimately led to the theft of more than $45,000 in client funds, a state audit released Thursday has found.
Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne M. Bump urged the West Springfield nonprofit organization, which contracts with state agencies to provide residential, mental health, and substance abuse-related services to children, adults and families, to strengthen its financial management and improve internal controls.
WWLP: MassHealth will have to act fast to reclaim money from Northgate
February 26, 2016 - The following content was originally published by WWLP.
The State Auditor received word Friday morning that Doctor Jose Azocar plans to shut down his practice at the end of March. The Auditor said this could be a tactic to avoid repaying $191,000 he owes to MassHealth.
MassHealth will have to act quickly to reclaim that money. The Auditor’s office found that Northgate Medical Primary Care, located on Liberty Street in Springfield, was billing MassHealth for services that are more expensive than the services that were actually provided.
Read more from WWLP.
2/25/16 - Springfield Republican
Governing Magazine: The Complicated Business of Evaluating Tax IncentivesFebruary 25, 2016 -The following content was originally published by Governing Magazine.
States give out billions to businesses and corporations each year in tax breaks to keep them within their borders. But tracking how these tax incentives are spent -- and whether they even work -- has been an incredibly tricky business.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump has been trying since she took office in 2011 to gain access to business tax returns at the Department of Revenue (DOR) for the purposes of auditing the tax credit programs. Bump is stymied by a state law that bans the auditor from accessing business tax information filed with the department. "Although we are told to audit the tax department, we cannot actually look at tax returns," she says. "If you can't look at the source documents, you can't know how well DOR is executing its functions."
Read more from Governing Magazine.
Worcester Magazine: Auditor’s office finds probation deficiencies at Worcester District Court
February 22, 2016 - The following content was originally published by Worcester Magazine.
The Massachusetts State Auditor’s office has released a report from a review of probation supervising fees (PSF) at Worcester District Courthouse and 15 other locations, and found that the WDC does not have a centralized method of tracking community service hours and some judges allow probation officers to choose between a PSF and community service despite laws against that practice.
The report summarized findings from an audit started in 2012 and encompassing 16 total court systems.
Read more from Worcester Magazine
Herald News: State Audit: Fall River District Court lost out on $800K in probation revenue
February 22, 2016 - The following content was originally published by the Herald News.
Fall River District Court does not effectively track community service performed by probationers, according to Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
Bump’s office also said that Fall River District Court, because it lacks a centralized method of tracking probationers’ community service hours, cannot readily determine how many community-service hours are owed, what the community service amounts to in dollars and whether offenders will be able to fulfill their court-ordered requirements on schedule.
Read more from the Herald News.
Concord Journal: Concord District Court faulted in audit for fee collection procedure
February 13, 2016 - The following content was originally published in the Concord Journal
A state audit has determined that Concord District Court (CDC) had a $300,000 shortfall in the collection of fees charged to defendants placed on supervised probation.
According to the audit of the Massachusetts Trial Court by the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump, covering the period from July 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2013, CDC collected and transmitted $383,260 of probation service fees (PSF) compared to potential PSFs of $690,885, a difference of roughly $300,000.
Read more from the Concord Journal
Boston.com: Gov. Baker helps launch new website that ‘fact checks’ charter schools
February 12, 2016 - The following content was originally published on Boston.com
Governor Charlie Baker joined many of the state’s charter school advocacy groups at a State House event Friday afternoon where they rolled out a new “fact check” website about charter schools. The site’s creators said it will address what they call misconceptions about the schools.
But, shortly after the event, the state’s auditor Suzanne Bump issued a statement that said the campaign was misstating the findings of an audit her office conducted in 2014.
“The campaign itself needs to check its facts,” she said. “The campaign uses my office’s audit to demonstrate that there are currently over 37,000 students on the wait list. Our audit specifically states: ‘We estimated that unduplicated counts taken at the end of the lottery process in March 2013 should have been no more than 38,034 students (with 14,800 from Boston), as opposed to the 40,376 unduplicated count reported by [the department].’”
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Sentinel & Enterprise: Editorial: Let's identify fraud before it occurs
February 8, 2016 - The following content was originally published in the Sentinel & Enterprise
If there's anything that spikes the blood pressure of every Massachusetts taxpayer, it's cases of fraud within the already generous public-benefits system, which accounts for more than one-third of the state budget.
And unfortunately, in agencies that disperse more than $13 billion annually-- primarily in health-insurance coverage and food and nutritional aid -- there's going to be abuses.
Evidence of that comes from the unit within the state Auditor's Office charged with uncovering false claims. Fortunately, the stellar work of Auditor Suzanne Bump's Bureau of Special Investigations identified a record $13.7 million in benefits fraud in the last fiscal year -- nearly a 50 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
While Bump noted that these continually escalating fraud figures are more a reflection of this probe unit's growing expertise rather than representative a rampant escalation of cheating within the system, it still can't excuse the waste of precious tax dollars.
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3/1/16 - New Boston Post
Milford Daily News: Milford District Court audit clean in face of statewide problems
February 2, 2016: The following content was originally published by the Milford Daily News
In audit of Milford District Court's probation supervision fee system came back clean.
The audit is part of a statewide look at the probation fees in the court system. It follows a report released by State Auditor Suzanne Bump that details widespread problems in the Massachusetts court system regarding probation transactions.
Read more from the Milford Daily News
Springfield Republican: Top Baker budget official urges lawmakers to hold line on government spending
February 2, 2016: The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican
Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore stressed the need to hold the line on government spending, as she answered questions on Tuesday from the legislative committee tasked with writing the state budget.
During her testimony, Auditor Bump said her office generates money for the state by identifying fraudulent and wasteful spending. Since 2011, she said audits have identified $1 billion in unallowable or questionable spending.
"When you consider the annual budget of our agency - less than $20 million - and compare it to the impact we have, it is clear that our work improves efficiency and accountability in government spending, and that diminishing our resources is counterproductive," Bump said.
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Springfield Republican: SNAP benefit fraud: How do state investigators know how much there is?
January 31, 2016: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
Investigators with the State Auditor's Office identified $4.58 million in SNAP benefits fraud during fiscal 2015 and have targeted another $1.7 million in the first half of this fiscal year.
But those numbers, provided by the auditor's office, are not the total amount of fraud identified in the state's food benefits program, which receives about $100 million per month in federal funding.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Quincy Patriot Ledger: OUR OPINION: 3 people who are using their offices to help end addiction crisis
November 23, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
At last Monday’s legislative hearing on the governor’s opioid bill, what was lost amidst the controversy over Baker’s proposal for 72-hour commitments for those who had overdosed was testimony presented by state Auditor Suzanne Bump. One could be forgiven for asking what contribution a state auditor might make to the fight against opioid addiction. It turns out, a big one.
Read more from the Patriot Ledger.
New Bedford Standard Times: Auditor: Cities and towns to get $2.76M for 2016 Elections
November 23, 2015: The following content was originally published in the New Bedford Standard Times.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump notified cities and towns across the Commonwealth that they will get more than $2.76 million to cover the cost of extra mandated polling hours for the 2016 March Presidential primary, and the 2016September state primary and the November final elections. “The administration of and participation in elections is the very core of our democracy, and increasing accessibility to polls is crucial to the success of the process,” said Auditor Bump in a news release. “However, it is important that we not overlook the impact this type of decision can have on municipal budgets. Placing the financial responsibility on the state is a great compromise to protect cities and towns while also ensuring that people have access to polling locations.”
Read more from the Standard Times.
11/24/15 - Attleboro Sun Chronicle
Quincy Patriot Ledger: State Auditor tracks impact of homeless families housed in local motelsNovember 18, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Earlier this year, an investigation by Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office found that the state’s emergency assistance program of sheltering homeless families in motels cost the 25 host cities and towns as much as $13 million a year and that communities could be missing out on $1.7 million in excise taxes. Bump called on the State Department of Housing and Community Development to track and confirm that excise taxes from the motels are paid to the local communities. On Wednesday, she reported that between July and September, the first three months of the fiscal year, Weymouth was paid just under $31,000 in excise taxes generated by the state-funded emergency shelter program. Brockton, which has 145 homeless families living in local motels, saw $58,578 in excise taxes for the same period, the highest amount among host communities in Massachusetts.
Read more from the Patriot Ledger.
Boston Herald: Auditor seeks closer look at film tax credit data
October 27, 2015 - This content was originally published by the Boston Herald.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump is renewing her call for more access to data on the state’s controversial film tax credit and other lucrative incentives in the wake of a Herald report that highlighted the practice by filmmakers of selling them to companies and individuals whose identities remain shrouded from public view.
“I firmly believe that the Legislature and the public need more information as to the efficacy, that is, the fairness and effectiveness, of all of our business tax expenditures,” Bump said in a statement to the Herald, calling on lawmakers to give her the power to review “all the information” reported to DOR.
“Not to audit individual companies,” she explained, “but to determine which types of businesses are benefiting from the billions of dollars’ worth of tax breaks in our tax code.”
Read more from the Boston Herald.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette: State audit finds no issues at QCC
October 26, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Quinsigamond Community College appears to be humming along fine, according to a recent audit done by state Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office.
The latest report, a regularly scheduled performance audit that looked at the college’s activities from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, "did not identify any significant deficiencies" in the areas auditors focused on, according to the executive summary.
Read more from the Telegram & Gazette.
Quincy Patriot Ledger: Our Opinion: 3 stories of those doing their jobs and doing them well
October 5, 2015 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Oftentimes, when a public, private, or government agency is in the newspapers, it's because it somehow failed in its duties and breached the public's trust.
This week, however, we bring you three stories of those who are doing their jobs and doing it well.
On Friday, state Auditor Suzanne Bump released her performance audit of Old Colony Elder Services based in Brockton. The nonprofit, which serves the elderly and disabled, receives nearly $20 million of its $34 million in annual revenue from state contracts. The auditor’s office is charged with ensuring it is well run.
Read more from the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
WCVB: Auditor: Ride company over-billed state in 'deliberate wrongdoing'
October 5, 2015 - The following content originally aired on WCVB.
MassHealth’s largest vendor for non-emergency transportation improperly billed the state for more than $16 million dollars in rides, putting in for more expensive wheelchair van claims when instead the clients were almost all able to walk, according to a report released Monday afternoon by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
“I think this is a case of deliberate wrongdoing,” Bump told 5 Investigates.
The newly released audit also says that Rite Way, which until recently was by far the largest provider of non-emergency transportation to MassHealth customers, made claims for hospitalized clients when in fact “transportation never occurred” and also billed the state for rides to methadone clinics when clients never received treatment.
WBZ: Keller @ Large: Can DCF be fixed?
October 4, 2015 - The following content originally aired on WBZ.
After another week of negative headlines for the Department of Children and Families, WBZ poltiical analyst Jon Keller asks State Auditor Suzanne Bump what can be done to fix chronic problems at the troubled agency.
Bump says one major issue is that DCF social workers say that they communicate better with schools, courts, and law enforcement that sister agencies in the executive branch.
View more from WBZ.
Springfield Republican: State auditor applauds changes at Department of Children and Families during Holyoke visit
September 30, 2015 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
Days after the governor announced the new policies, which aim to reduce caseloads and retain and recruit social workers, Bump told the Holyoke Golden Seniors that she's pleased to see state officials lead on this front, particularly in the wake of recent, high-profile child deaths and 2014 audit findings.
"I'm rather excited about the fact that they are looking to the audit that we have done, but also looking to a report that was done by the Child Welfare League of America that found the same kinds of problems that our audit did," she said, during an event at the Holyoke Council on Aging. "And getting back to basics and rebuilding that agency from the start – not trying to put a Band Aid on a symptom, but looking holistically at the agency."
Read more from the Springfield Republican.
Boston Business Journal: State's venture arm criticized over job-reporting practices
September 28, 2015 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Business Journal.
MassVentures, the state's venture capital arm, isn't doing enough to verify data around the jobs impact of its various investments, according to a recently published audit.
The report, which includes data from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2014, comes roughly five years after MassVentures drew criticism from the state regarding its methods of collecting and verifying data about Massachusetts jobs stemming from its investments. The venture outfit reports on its jobs-creation stats annually to the Legislature.
Read more from the Boston Business Journal.
Boston Globe: Opinion: To fix DCF, first transform the culture
September 25, 2015 - The following content is from an Opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which was originally published on bostonglobe.com.
Each tragic headline this year has made the public wonder anew why the Department of Children and Families has not yet fixed itself. After all, the Legislature restored some of the funding it had cut from its budget, the governor appointed a new leader who is instituting changes in policies and procedures, employees and parents have provided input into an improvement process, and many of the social workers now have iPads for more timely record-keeping. Like many of our most persistent problems, however, the solutions require more than money and technology, or even new ideas. They require an emphasis on addressing root causes and on collaboration from across state government.
...Think about the reasons why DCF is called in to help a family. Poverty, mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse. If we really want to help the families served by DCF, the administration needs to create greater collaboration and support from agencies that provide the social services DCF families need. DCF families don’t live in silos, and neither should DCF.
Read more from Auditor Bump's column on bostonglobe.com.