Rocky Mountain Person Services Stays a Monetary Risk for the City

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Colorado News

The city and Rocky Mountain Human Services are doing more to ensure case support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Denver, but both organizations remain at risk of misusing property tax dollars or making improper reimbursements with that designated money, according to a follow-up report from Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA.

“Rocky Mountain Human Services using feedback to prioritize effective case management is good news for people in Denver with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Auditor O’Brien said. “But the city failing to monitor subcontractors’ goals and refusing to verify millions in reimbursements is bad news for property taxpayers.”

In our 2019 audit, we found Denver Human Services needed to do more to make sure Denver property tax dollars designated to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are used correctly. We also recommended better monitoring of subcontractors to confirm they are using Denver property tax dollars to achieve goals supporting residents within the City and County of Denver.

At the time of our follow-up work, Denver Human Services had still failed to fully implement monitoring procedures for subcontracts. This means there is a chance subcontractors could misuse city money by not meeting the goals outlined in each of their contracts. Rocky Mountain Human Services did create new procedures to monitor the subcontractors; however, the procedures include only steps to review expenses, not steps to monitor goals.

“Monitoring expenses is the first basic step in proper oversight,” Auditor O’Brien said. “But making sure public dollars are being used to actually achieve the intended goals is also necessary.”

In 2019, Denver Human Services was also not verifying self-reported costs for reimbursement from Rocky Mountain Human Services. Our audit team found Denver Human Services paid $16.5 million of $25.2 million in total reimbursements to the organization — or 66% — without validating the expenses.

Denver Human Services disagreed with this essential accountability measure, and we did not identify any action taken since our audit.

“We don’t follow up on recommendations when an agency disagrees because we assume the agency will not act,” Auditor O’Brien said. “Nevertheless, I would hope to see this significant area of weakness remedied in the near future. The people of Denver deserve responsible stewardship of these millions of dollars.”

Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain Human Services has improved how it confirms people are receiving the case support they need, it updated its training to include awareness of residency requirements, and it implemented better transparency in responding to its Community Advisory Council. The organization also developed new controls to hold its service coordinators accountable for meeting the requirements for Denver residents receiving case management services.

Additionally, our audit team found the organization has developed and administered a client satisfaction survey for case management. The survey included questions relating to access to services and quality of care — such as asking whether services were made available at times and in places convenient to the client and whether the case manager supported the client’s needs.

“Rocky Mountain Human Services is working hard to provide good services to the people who need them,” Auditor O’Brien said. “I’m pleased the organization is doing better at taking in feedback to ensure it meets the needs of its clients.”

Denver Human Services and Rocky Mountain Human Services together implemented six of our recommendations. Four recommendations were only partially implemented and one was not implemented. Denver Human Services disagreed with three recommendations and no further action was taken.

 

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via Straight News https://northdenvernews.com/rocky-mountain-human-services-remains-a-financial-risk-for-the-city/

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