Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Inspector General -- AUDIT

"Audit of Costs and Reporting of Funds Under the Public Health Preparedness and Response for Bioterrorism Program District of Columbia," (A-03-04-00353)

June 21, 2005

Complete Text of Report is available in PDF format (921 kb). Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Public Affairs at 202-619-1343.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded the District of Columbia Department of Health (District) $24.5 million between September 1999 and August 2004 to improve their bioterrorism preparedness and response capabilities under the Public Health Preparedness and Response for Bioterrorism Program (Program).  Our objectives were to determine whether the District accounted for and used Program funds in accordance with the cooperative agreement with CDC, and did not supplant current State or local funding with Program funds.

The District did not track Program funds by focus area, and did not provide an accurate financial status report (FSR) for the period October 2001 to September 2003.  The District did not use or did not obligate $11.8 million or 48 percent of the $24.5 million awarded.  The District improperly charged or did not adequately document $76,432 in Program funds, and erroneously charged $162,105 in employee overtime pay to Program funds.  The District did not use Program funds to supplant other State or local expenditures.

 We recommended that the District:  (1) record, summarize, and report CDC Program funds awarded, expended, obligated, and unobligated by focus area in accordance with the cooperative agreement; (2) revise and resubmit the October 1, 2001, to September 30, 2003 FSR to CDC; (3) ensure Program activities are funded in a manner to minimize unobligated fund balances and to achieve Program goals; and (4) refund to CDC $238,537 representing $76,432 in improperly charged or inadequately documented costs, and $162,105 in erroneously charged overtime pay.  The District concurred with our first three recommendations.  We adjusted our fourth recommendation after the District provided documentation to support $66,301 in expenditures in response to our draft report.  The District essentially met the intent of our fourth recommendation by agreeing to adjust its FSRs to account for the remaining $238,537 in improperly charged and inadequately documented expenditures.  We are pleased that the District recognizes that $238,537 should not have been charged to Program funds.  We are concerned that the revision of the FSRs only increases the significant unobligated funds already reported.