Auditor Bump Calls for Investment in Oversight
BOSTON, MA — State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today, appearing before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, requested an additional $1.35 million for her agency’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget to increase her field audit staff by 25 percent.
“Our work as external auditors is unique in its abilities, its methods, its results, and its value to both taxpayers and citizens, all of whom deserve the effective and efficient operation of government,” said Bump. “This independent audit authority, adequately staffed, is an essential component of government oversight and accountability. An additional $1.35 million for the OSA’s Administration appropriation will ensure that we can execute this important role in government.”
The Office of the State Auditor conducts technical and performance assessments of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors.
Auditor Bump justified the need for an increase by detailing her agency’s record of return on investment.
“In the last two fiscal years, my office has been allocated $30 million to oversee more than $70 billion in budgeted funds. In those two years, our audits have identified over $300 million in questionable and unallowable spending, fraud, and ineffective operations.”
Auditor Bump detailed in her testimony how several audits released during her administration have saved the Commonwealth money and improved government services. Examples included:
- An audit of Medicaid payments for drug screening which found $16.5 million in unallowable and improper billings. Since the audit, MassHealth has updated its claims systems and decreased its average monthly drug screening payments by more than half (see attached graph on page 2). MassHealth has also referred $4.5 million of the identified improper charges to the Attorney General’s office for possible criminal actions.
- An audit of the Department of Developmental Services which found the human service agency regularly and improperly distributed $14.9 million in reserve emergency funds to providers for non-emergency use. After the audit’s release, such emergency spending has dropped within a year from $7.8 million to $1.7 million (see graph 2).
- An audit of Early Education and Care (EEC) which found lapses in child safety at care facilities including infrequent unannounced inspections, infrequent criminal offender background checks, and no matches performed against the Sex Offenders Registry list. As a result of the audit, the Legislature enacted legislation that requires regular sex offender background checks for all licensed child care staff and matches of facilities to be performed against addresses contained on the Sex Offender Registry list. In addition, EEC has resumed performing unannounced inspections and has increased other safety standards.
With an increased appropriation Auditor Bump said that she will be able to deploy additional teams and utilize advanced data analysis technology to audit more agencies and vendors each year.
In addition to performing state audits, the Office of the State Auditor also contains the Bureau of Special Investigations which performs investigates and prevents cases of public benefit fraud, and the Division of Local Mandates, which conducts legal analyses of proposed or existing legislation and evaluates the cost implications for cities and towns.
Testimony of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump Before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means