An annual audit of North Carolina’s compliance with federal human services programs uncovered significant issues at the state’s health agency, including overpaying for Medicaid services and skipping a background check for adoptive parents.
The audit released on March 31 found problems with nearly every program they checked at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, from administration of the federal food stamps program to Medicaid billing and neglecting to spend a federal grant to help AIDS and HIV patients.
A DHHS spokeswoman said the agency has worked under in recent years under Secretary Aldona Wos to improve the management of federal programs, and plans on addressing the issues highlighted in the audit.
“The department has made significant progress improving its operations over the past two years and we continue to value the role that audits can play in further enabling us to do so,” DHHS spokeswoman Alex Lefebvre wrote in an emailed response to questions. “This annual audit will be used by the department to continue on the path of improved effectiveness.”
There were other findings that didn’t point to wasted money, but may have put children’s safety at risk.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services didn’t check to make sure prospective adoptive parents were clear of prior abuse allegations, by checking a registry of abuse and neglect allegations.
“The Department did not monitor that the child abuse registry was checked before a child was placed for adoption,” the federal compliance audit stated. “As a result, children could be placed in an unsafe environment.”
DHHS, in the response contained in the audit, said it thought county-level officials had ensured the abuse and neglect check had been done. Criminal background checks were conducted.