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Review of Contract Signatures for the Hurricane Katrina Health-Care-Related Professional Workforce Supply Grant for the Greater New Orleans Area

Our audit found that from March 2007 through January 2009, Louisiana's Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health (the Bureau) paid $330,000 in grant funds to seven practitioners who may not have agreed to comply with the grant's terms and conditions. CMS awarded the Bureau a Professional Workforce Supply Grant (the grant) to restore access to health care in communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Interested practitioners were required to submit applications for funding and sign contracts.

We found that seven contracts did not contain authentic signatures. These errors occurred because the Bureau did not have adequate policies and procedures to ensure that employees processing the contracts were obtaining authentic signatures on the agreements from both parties before payments were made.

We recommended that the Bureau (1) obtain authentic signatures for the seven contracts that were not re-signed or refund the $330,000 of grant funds to CMS and (2) ensure that all of the contracts that were not part of our review contain authentic signatures. In its comments, the Bureau said that some of the original contracts might not be on file. The Bureau also said that it had reviewed the remaining contracts but provided no supporting documentation. Nothing in the Bureau's comments caused us to revise our recommendations.

Filed under: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services