2002 Impact Award Recipients



Behavioral Health Services: Interagency Coordination of Services

The report addressed why people referred from other state agencies to the state behavioral health system did not always receive services. The report made recommendations for improving service accessibility and ensuring that services were appropriate. In response to the report, the agencies involved made several improvements, including implementing a new screening tool, expanding the services covered by Medicaid, implementing a revised fee structure for providers, and improving training. Melanie Chesney, Performance Audit Director
Arizona Office of the Auditor General

Department of Social Services: To Ensure Safe, Licensed Child Care Facilities, It Needs to More Diligently Assess Criminal Histories, Monitor Facilities, and Enforce Disciplinary Decisions

The audit found that the department granted criminal history exemptions to child care providers with little or no management oversight and was lax in ensuring that substantiated complaints against child care facilities were corrected. As a result of the audit, the department increased its review of exemptions, and the legislature expanded the list of crimes for which the department cannot grant an exemption. The department also implemented new complaint follow-up procedures and improved its training program. Elaine Howle, State Auditor
Bureau of State Audits

Children's Basic Health Plan, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Performance Audit

The audit identified numerous cases of dual enrollment in the Children's Basic Health Plan and Medicaid, resulting in $242,000 of excess HMO payments. Also, the audit's recommendations played a key role in improving marketing to the targeted population and simplifying participation for eligible families. The operating structure of the program was simplified, reducing redundancies, clarifying its mission, and improving oversight of vendors and contractors.  Joanne Hill, State Auditor
Office of the State Auditor

South Bay Correctional Facility Provides Savings and Success; Room for Improvement

This audit of a private prison recommended that the legislature implement a new process for determining private prison contract rates. The legislature amended statutes to provide a process for using annual public prison per diem rates as an index for setting private prison appropriations to ensure savings to the state. The Correctional Privatization Commission also implemented the report's recommendation to reduce payments to prisons for excessive staff vacancies. John W. Turcotte, Director
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Sports and Music Halls of Fame

The audit found that the Sports and Music Halls of Fame were not operating with sound business plans and their retail operations were not profitable. As a result of the audit, both agencies agreed to develop a business plan, to modify their retail operations to establish clear performance measures, and to work together and combine operations when feasible. The agencies created a shared Director of Retail Operations position and were conducting joint staff meetings. Russell W. Hinton, State Auditor
Department of Audits and Accounts

Analysis of a Proposal to Expand the Regulation of the Alarm Industry

This report found that statewide regulation of the alarm industry was not necessary and suggested that if some regulation was necessary it should be limited to specific counties that were experiencing problems. The state legislature did not enact further statewide regulation, and the city and county of Honolulu enacted a law to address a problem specific to that county. Marion M. Higa, State Auditor
Office of the Auditor

Management Audit of the Illinois State Board of Education and Other State Agencies Providing Funding to Illinois' Regional Offices of Education

Illinois has 45 Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) that act as program and fiscal intermediaries between the State Board of Education and local school districts. The audit found that there were inconsistencies in reporting funds and programs between the ROEs and that audits performed by the State Board of Education were not always accurate. In response to the audit, the legislature enacted a law giving the Auditor General responsibility for conducting audits of the ROEs. William G. Holland, Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General

Methamphetamine Labs: Reviewing Kansas' Enforcement Efforts

The audit found that the proliferation of meth manufacturing and use in Kansas was exacting a major toll in costs ($21 million) and on law enforcement resources. As a result of the audit recommendations, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation took several steps to improve the processing of evidence through its lab. From fall 2001 to May 2002 the backlog of cases at the meth lab decreased by 46%. Rick Riggs, Administrative Auditor
Legislative Division of Post Audit

Impact Plus: Design of Medicaid-Funded Program for Children with Severe Emotional Disturbance Results in Rapidly Growing Expenditures and Difficult Policy Choices

Although it was initially billed as revenue neutral, the Impact Plus program's broad eligibility requirements and ineffective utilization controls led to rapidly escalating costs. In response to the report, the agency worked to redesign the program by tightening eligibility, implementing uniform rates and encouraging better coordination among partners. Also, as the report questioned whether the program was appropriate to serve autistic children, the legislature passed a bill requiring the agency to apply for a Medicaid waiver to serve these children. Ginny Wilson, Committee Staff Administrator
Legislative Research Commission

Getting on Track: Common Sense Ideas to Expedite Rail Trail Development in Massachusetts

The report found that Massachusetts was last among the fifty states at constructing rail trails (trails created when abandoned rail lines are converted into public trails for pedestrian and bicycle use) and called for increased state commitment to almost 100 rail trail projects in the state. The legislature enacted a provision requiring that the highway agency create a plan describing how the agency plans to address the backlog of projects. Also, after the report the agency has shown greater support of bicycle and pedestrian issues and concerns. Joel Barrera, Director
State Senate Post Audit and Oversight Bureau

Performance Audit of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, Department of Education and Department of Treasury

The audit found that the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) was generally effective in assessing students' academic knowledge and skills. However, it also identified several areas for improvement. The Department of Treasury agreed with, and was implementing, all but one of the audit's recommendations. Thomas H. McTavish, Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General

State Agencies' Use of Cellular Telephones

In this study, the evaluation staff surveyed state agencies to determine the number of cell phones in use by state employees and the internal controls in place to monitor their use. The report found few internal controls to monitor phone use and considerable inefficiency in the procurement of cellular calling plans. In response to the report, some agencies developed new controls and the Department of Information Technology Services agreed to draft new policies for calling plan procurement. James A. Barber, Deputy Director
Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER)

A New Poverty Indicator to Distribute Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid (DPIA)

The DPIA program provides additional state funding to school districts with high proportions of students in poverty. DPIA funding had been based on the number of families enrolled in Ohio Works First (OWF), the state's welfare program, but the report found that enrollment in OWF has become progressively less reflective of the actual number of families in poverty. To more accurately identify these families, the report recommended the DPIA program use the unduplicated enrollment figures from four public assistance program areas. In response to the report, the legislature adopted this change. Nancy C. Zajano, Director
Legislative Committee on Education Oversight

A Review of Selected Medicaid Issues: Fraud and Abuse, Prescription Drug Costs, and Funding

This audit reviewed ways to reduce Medicaid spending without cutting services or restricting eligibility. The audit made several recommendations, including having the agency set a goal to increase collections from providers who file incorrect or fraudulent claims, changing prescription drug policies, and installing a point-of-sale prescription drug system. The agency implemented a number of the audit recommendations and reported immediate cost savings. George L. Schroeder, Director
Legislative Audit Council

Teaching Kids to Read: Is Tennessee Doing Enough?

This study assessed efforts by the state's department of education and state board of education to increase efforts to teach children to read. The report made numerous recommendations for improving these efforts, including creating and funding a comprehensive reading initiative and fully funding an existing Early Childhood Education Plan. The Legislature passed legislation with many of the report's recommendations (not yet funded), and the board of education made several program improvements. Ethel R. Detch, Director
Office of Education Accountability

An Audit Report on the Texas Department of Economic Development's Contracting Practices for the Smart Jobs Program

This audit found that the Smart Jobs funds, which are distributed through contracts with Texas employers for the purpose of training existing employees to fill new job vacancies or retraining them by upgrading their skills, were not being spent for these purposes. Specifically, it found that the employers who were awarded contracts created significantly fewer jobs and trained significantly fewer employees than required in their contracts. In addition, the department paid approximately $5 million to contractors for training that did not meet contract requirements and for trainees who never participated in the program. In response to the audit, the Legislature did not reauthorize this program. Nick L. Villalpando, Audit Manager
Texas State Auditor's Office

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

The study found that the department is funding a significant amount of affordable housing and effectively assisting many communities statewide, but it also found key problems in the department's failure to allocate resources to meet the state's most pressing housing needs. The review also found that the agency and its board lacked public accountability. The department adopted many of the report's recommendations, and the legislature enacted changes to the agency and its governing board to improve accountability.  Ken Levine, Assistant Director
Sunset Advisory Commission

Investing in the Environment: Environmental Quality Grant and Loan Programs

This performance audit reviewed 12 environmental grant and loan programs that, combined, distribute over $400 million each year. The audit found that these programs were distributing their funds appropriately but were not able to document the outcomes of the investments made with those funds. The audit staff members developed a model containing 16 investment practices, by which these programs could evaluate the investments they make. The Legislature adopted bills supporting the use of this model. Thomas M. Sykes, Legislative Auditor
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee

Placement of Deferred Compensation

This audit examined several aspects of the state's deferred compensation program. The audit's recommendations focused on ways to improve the program's administration and increase its use by public employees. The Legislature adopted a bill to move the deferred compensation program to the Wyoming Retirement System, to promote participation in the program, and to appropriate funds to fully fund the program. Barbara Rogers, Program Evaluation Manager
Wyoming Legislative Service Office