Our targeted review identified eight surplus properties that could be sold for an estimated $1.5 million to $2.2 million. We found that identifying surplus real property is a subjective, lengthy, and sometimes difficult process. That is because property use must be periodically evaluated, the owner and boundaries of land are not always clear, and lease agreements can make it more difficult to determine whether land or buildings are surplus. Additionally, the Department of Administration has not proactively identified surplus real property as required by law and lacks the authority to independently designate what properties are surplus. Moreover, the process for selling surplus real property includes several disincentives for state agencies. Finally, delays in selling the Atchison Juvenile Correctional Facility highlight problems with the surplus real property disposal process. We also found that the State Surplus Property program is not an efficient way of disposing of surplus personal property. In each of the past two years, the program operated at a net loss of approximately $50,000. Further, the state’s contractor for online auctions is better equipped to maximize agencies’ revenues from selling surplus items and several state agencies prefer to use the state’s contractor instead of the state’s program. Finally, agencies do not want to sell surplus vehicles because they are hard to replace once sold, and agencies have few negative consequences for holding onto surplus personal property.
Kansas Neurological Institute: Evaluating the Efficiency of the Institute's Operations and the Cost and Safety Implications of Moving Its Residents into Local Communities
This audit evaluated both the operational efficiency of the Kansas Neurological Institute, as well as the potential cost and safety implications of moving its residents into a community setting. Our analysis of KNI’s operations identified about $550,000 in one-time revenues and almost $270,000 in potential annual cost savings with little or no effect on KNI residents or services. We also identified about $680,000 in unduplicated potential cost savings annually that would change aspects of KNI’s service model and could affect the quality of life or safety of KNI residents. We found that the cost and safety implications of closing KNI and serving its residents in a community setting are both complex and far-reaching. Although both settings provide similar core services to individuals with developmental disabilities, they differ in terms of the funding they receive and the specialized medical services they are able to provide. These differences create the potential for about $5 million in annual State savings after all KNI residents were relocated into a community setting. They also raise concerns about the safety and quality of life those individuals would receive in a community setting, specifically the adequacy and availability of medical care, and KNI residents’ ability to adapt to a new environment.
Reviewing the Quality of Care and Personnel Management at Kansas Neurological Institute
This audit showed mixed results regarding the quality of care at KNI. On the one hand, recent federally required reviews of KNI's operations show the level of care has improved, surveyed parents generally were satisfied with the level of care being provided, and the number of incidents and injuries at KNI has declined over the past five years. On the other hand, the number of deaths, hospitalizations, and reported instances of abuse or neglect at KNI has increased. Also, many direct-care and medical staff we surveyed thought the level of care had declined. Some direct-care staff think KNI is understaffed because they now must work with clients each day doing shopping, cooking, and laundry–things other KNI employees used to do. KNI didn't appear to be understaffed compared to other facilities for the mentally retarded, but at least one Kansas facility we looked at distributes its work among staff somewhat differently. We found that KNI officials generally met all the requirements for handling the personnel transactions we reviewed, but it was clear from survey responses and staff interviews that KNI has a serious morale problem related to perceived unfairness in hiring and promotions. We also found that oversight of time worked by employees is weak and has resulted in some abuses, and a lack of good records in other areas has sometimes hampered abuse investigations. Finally, during this audit we reviewed a number of allegations of mismanagement, misdeeds, and potential conflicts of interest. While some allegations appeared to be basically true, others appeared to be based on a lack of information or misinformation.
The State has established goals to reduce mental retardation hospital resident populations and staffing levels. Although the State has limited admissions and transferred more than 250 hospitals residents to community settings since fiscal year 1991, hospital populations remain higher than planned. One reason is that the State’s placement approach depends on developing individualized community services and placements, many of which are not readily available. Community centers primarily cite resource inadequacies as the reason why services and placements are not being developed rapidly. Finally, per-person costs for community placements appear to be less than per-person hospital costs. However, even though people are being transferred from hospitals to community settings, total State hospital costs are not going down. In fact, the State will not realize any significant cost savings from transferring individuals to community settings until a hospital is closed.
Several cases of client neglect were handled outside the established reporting system, staff members accused of abuse or neglect were not always removed from duty, and parents and others were often not properly notified of reported abuse or neglect incidents. In addition, many of the changes the Department has planned or made will still not result in independent and adequate abuse investigations or improved monitoring of the institutions, nor will they address other recommendations made in the March 1987 audit of Winfield State Hospital.
Housing and Other Maintenance Support Provided to State Employees
The purpose of this audit represents the status of individual agencies as to their arrangements for providing employee maintenance. To obtain an analysis of the varying procedures among agencies and to then submit recommendations for updating and standardizing procedures on a state-wide basis. The primary focus will be given to family-type housing maintenance as this is the most significant area of maintenance in terms of varying procedures and cost factors involved. Observations concerning dormitory housing and food service support will also be included in this audit.