Health district to change accounting practices after audit

Print Article

MOSES LAKE — Changes in the accounting department in early 2017 meant the Grant County Health District underreported its pension liabilities and made errors in its calculations of federal grant spending. Those were among the errors identified in a report issued by the Washington State Auditor.

In addition, the health district didn’t follow all the procedures when awarding grant funds as part of a federal program, the audit report said. The mistakes didn’t cost the district any money.

To address the audit concerns the health district said it would update its forms and make sure employees receive the required training.

The audit team said health district employees who were responsible for preparing the financial reports “were not familiar with the reporting requirements” of the state’s accounting system. In addition, health district management “did not have a formal process to evaluate the accuracy of the district’s financial statements.”

New employees were preparing the reports for 2016, the report said, and the district “did not provide new staff with adequate training” in the state’s reporting requirements. “Staff relied on prior year financial statements and notes as a template for reporting current-year financial activity without adequately reviewing recent updates” to the state system.

Because employees didn’t know about the changes, they underreported the district’s pension liabilities by $1,194,970, and incorrectly reported $207,293 in federal grants. The audit also found errors in reporting “employee compensated absences.” An overpayment and refund in 2015 was reported incorrectly.

Health district officials said the errors were a result of new employees coming on board at a crucial time. “Changes in key accounting staff occurred in January 2017 and the timing of the change left the district vulnerable to reporting errors. Due to time constraints training in the (state accounting system) was not immediately available to the new staff.”

The prior accountant didn’t have time to work on the preliminary 2016 report and “recommended the new accountant use the previous year’s recording template.” To solve the problem, health district officials said they would make sure all employees received the proper training and would implement a review system to ensure the reports are in compliance with current reporting standards.

Auditors also found an error in the federal grant program. The district didn’t review some qualifications of some recipients of a grant to fight diabetes and heart disease. Health district officials said they had “a long-standing relationship” with the groups that received the grants, but didn’t check all the requirements for all the recipients. “The district will change its standard contract form” to make sure the information is included, health district officials said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Moses Lake physician surrenders medical license

July 19, 2018 at 10:32 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake physician David Earl will surrender his license and close his practice, according to a press release from the Washington Department of Health. Earl has agreed to permanent sur...

Comments

Read More

Ex-Moses Lake Port director accused of animal cruelty

July 19, 2018 at 5:00 am | The Royal Register Former Port of Moses Lake executive director David Senne and his wife Mary Ellen Senne have been charged with aggravated animal cruelty after 89 animals were seized from their property in Jones Count...

Comments

Read More

Ephrata man charged with rape of a child

July 19, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald QUINCY — An Ephrata man was jailed over the weekend and charged earlier this week for allegedly raping a young girl. Grant County prosecutors charged Misael Hernandez Sierra, 28, of Ephrata, in Gran...

Comments

Read More

Career exploration at BBCC

July 19, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — The detectives were on the case. The participants at Serious Gaming Camp tracked the mysterious footprints to an equally mysterious cabin where – well, something happened. There is a su...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2018 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X