A state audit finds the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services showed a significant deficiency after more than $13-million in uncashed checks were found in a small safe. Auditor Charlie Janssen says this comes from a discrepancy found in the money from drug manufacturers taking part in the Medicaid rebate program.
The search for the money led them to a small safe under an employee’s desk that was often found unlocked. Inside were nearly 200 checks. Fifty-seven of the checks totaled $6.8-million and were not signed or marked for deposit. Janssen says these were rebate checks and anyone could have easily walked in and deposited the check into their own personal bank account.
Janssen says up to this point all the checks are accounted for. He says, “Certainly this is a poor, poor business practice that needs to be shored up. I know the agency is addressing that. They said at the time they had a person who quit and didn’t know what to do with the checks. That probably isn’t a good reason. It isn’t the toughest thing to deposit checks and reconcile them after the fact.”
Janssen says the checks date back months and some will have to be re-issued because they are about to expire. When the state deposits checks it goes to an investment group and draw interest on that money. Janssen says that was a pretty good chunk of change that taxpayers missed out on because of this error.
Janssen also wants the public and state workers to know the auditor’s office has an anonymous tip line where they can report concerns regarding finances of state agencies. That number is 1-800-842-8348.