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Expenses Incurred by the Rocky Boy Health Board Were Not Always Allowable or Adequately Supported

Not all of the salary and benefit expenses that the Rocky Boy Health Board (Rocky Boy), a component of the Chippewa Creek Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation (Tribe), incurred were allowable in accordance with Federal requirements, the Tribe's policies, and Rocky Boy's policies. During Federal fiscal years (FYs) 2011 through 2013, Rocky Boy incurred and paid unallowable salary and benefit expenses of $271,000. The unallowable expenses consisted of $82,000 in duplicate salary payments, $62,000 in unsupported supplemental payments, $51,000 in excessive retirement benefit payments, $32,000 in unallowable exempt overtime payments, $17,000 in unallowable nonexempt overtime payments, $13,000 in unallowable donated leave payments, $11,000 in excessive annual leave payments, and $3,000 in unauthorized compensatory time payments.

In addition, Rocky Boy did not maintain adequate support for employee travel or for patients' medical travel assistance expenses totaling $37,000 for FYs 2011 and 2012. We also found that $5,000 in employee and medical travel assistance expenses were supported with receipts but were not in accordance with Tribal and Rocky Boy policies. We set aside the $5,000 in potentially unallowable expenses for adjudication by Rocky Boy and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

These errors occurred because Rocky Boy had inadequate internal controls, and the Rocky Boy staff was not adequately trained to ensure that Rocky Boy expended Federal funds in accordance with Federal requirements, the Tribe's policies, and Rocky Boy's policies.

We recommended that Rocky Boy refund to the Federal Government $271,000 in overpaid salary and benefit expenses and $37,000 in overpaid travel expenses; work with IHS to determine the unallowable portion of the $5,000 in travel expenses and refund the unallowable portion to the Federal Government; and develop and implement policies, procedures, and controls (to include employee training) to detect and prevent future occurrences of the errors we identified during this review and to ensure that employees comply with Federal requirements, the Tribe's policies, and Rocky Boy's policies.

Rocky Boy did not directly address our recommendations, but it described corrective actions that it had taken or planned to take with respect to each of the categories of our findings. However, Rocky Boy did not directly mention the specific expenses associated with any of these findings, nor did it address our recommendations that it refund the overpayments to the Federal Government. It appears that the corrective actions that Rocky Boy described, when fully implemented, would adequately implement our procedural recommendations.

Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Public Affairs at Public.Affairs@oig.hhs.gov.

Download the complete report.

Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201