bloggin' all things brownsville

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Keeping Tabs on UTB-TSC Audits ...

UPDATE: The Texas Internal Auditing Act requires that UTB file an annual report on UTB’s internal audit activities for FY 2008 by November 1, 2008. The report will be online by November 7, 2008. UTB’s external auditor is the State Auditors Office TSC’s external auditor is Long & Chilton, LLP.

Governmental audits aren’t a sexy topic. They don’t draw much interest, and local media generally don’t report on them. Although, lack of coverage could be that they’re so darn hard to find online unless you have time to invest in digging.

According to state law, The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College is required to make certain reports available online, and the Internal Audit is one of them.

Posted on the UTB-TSC Web site are annual audit reports from 2005-2007. I’ve highlighted a few brow-raisers in the latest report to allow folks to keep on eye on issues that need to be addressed by the time the 2008 report is released. The issues range from lack of required privacy of Social Security numbers to Student Health Services employees performing duties outside the scope of their licenses.

Interestingly, there were no observations, findings or recommendations for the UTB-TSC President or her office -- none I could find in the report, anyways -- when in 2006, several were noted. In 2006, it was recommended that the office should review all applicable travel policies and increase internal controls to ensure nonreimburable expenses aren't submitted for payment. It was also recommended that UTB (although this was listed under the Office of the President) review and reevaluate the Business Expense Policy to provide more thorough information and guidance relating to business expenses and entertainment/business functions. Internal auditors also found issues with the "housekeeping agreement" that concerned the appropriate division of business and personal services. The 2007 internal audit did not show that these issues were addressed, but they could have been addressed is a separate follow-up report.

2007 UTB-TSC Audit Highlights

FY 2007 Audit of UTS165, Section 10- Reduction of Use and Collection of Social Security Numbers
-Based on our interview with the Associate Vice President for Business Affairs, we determined a list of third-party vendors has not been generated. Therefore a written agreement between the institution and the vendors as it relates to the protection of social security numbers is non-existent. As a result there is no monitoring of vendors' efforts as it relates to the protection of SSN confidentiality.

FY 2007 Audit of Travel and Entertainment for Vice Presidents and Provost
-When testing for compliance with UTB’s Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOOP), we noted that the HOOP travel and business expense polices have not been updated in years and are causing confusion and inconsistencies in the amounts being reimbursed to employees.

FY 2007 Audit of Student Health Services
-Texas Medical Board: Lack of core physician supervision and documentation requirements.
-Texas Board of Pharmacy: Minimal to no oversight of the Class D Pharmacy and inaccurate inventory and control of prescription medicine. Management should develop a plan to ensure the Pharmacy is in compliance with Texas State Board of Pharmacy rules and regulations as soon as possible, i.e., review and update policies and procedures; clearly communicate roles and responsibilities; establish an inventory process; ensure oversight of pharmacy operations, etc.
-Texas Board of Nursing Examiners and Nursing Practice Act: Instances where an employee perform duties outside the scope of his license.
-services not provided as per medical services fee definition, inconsistent billing practices of office visits and services, inadequate security of patient medical records, patient designation not verified (student, faculty, staff, other non-student), policies and procedures manuals not updated, inadequate oversight of the over the counter dispensing machines’ revenue deposits, use of procurement card for non business expenses.

FY2007 Audit of UTS163 Guidance on Effort Reporting Policies
-UTB does not have a formal policy that states the frequency of training for existing employees, new employees, significant changes in rules and regulations and additional training required when noncompliance is found through the monitoring activities.

For the full audits, click here.

I'd rather read me a good audit than the latest Cosmopolitan mag. But that's just me. I've emailed Norma Ramos, director of Internal Audits at UTB-TSC, to inquire about the 2008 audit. I've also asked Ramos if external audits are conducted, and if so, what firm is used and where a copy may be accessed/obtained.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Melissa, now I just feel ashamed of not having yet finished that Strayhorn Performance Review.

One of many New Year's resolutions not yet fulfilled or flat-out ignored. Fortunately, with your archives gone, I can pretend I never made them.

Patricia A.

Saturday, June 28, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting findings, but what happened to all the health workers perfoming all these duties " outside their scope". Plainly put, they were not doctors performing doctors services? What about the meds that were not counted for? Was there an investigation? Why was it swept under the rug? Keep digging Melissa. It makes for good entertainment!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008  

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