KOOD has implemented some of the financial controls that have been recommended in previous audits, but other necessary controls are still not in place. The larger problem appears to be the station’s overall financial condition. It has consistently spent significantly more money than it has taken in, using cash balances to absorb the losses. If budget projections are accurate, those cash balances will be used up in the current fiscal year, requiring the station to drastically cut expenditures for the fiscal year beginning in July 1988.
Federal Staffing Requirements for Registered Nurses Applicable to Larned State Hospital (100-hour audit)
Federal regulations require adequate nursing staff to provide necessary services to Larned State Hospital patients, but do not specify minimum staffing ratios. The Hospital had been cited for staffing deficiencies in the past, but had not lost its Medicare certification. Following two 1987 federal reviews that threatened the Hospital with decertification, Hospital officials concentrated nursing staff in some units and received certification for those units. Because of this uneven distribution of staff, however, federal funds are now in further jeopardy.
Reviewing the Health Care Plan for State Employees, Part I
Because Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s initial bid for the State employees’ health care plan would have increased the traditional Blue Cross premiums by 40 percent, the Health Care Commission negotiated a different type of plan with Blue Cross. The new Blue Select plan requires employees to choose a primary care physician to coordinate their health care needs. For the first time, State employees will also be required to pay for a portion of their health care coverage. A monthly smoker’s charge was also instituted. The Blue Select primary care physicians, selected by Blue Cross, were initially required to serve in HMO Kansas, but that requirement has been dropped. They must still meet the same criteria as HMO Kansas doctors, however. Kansas’ State employee health benefits will cost more in 1988 than in 1986, and will cost more than other employers’ health benefits.
Because of the lack of any real benefits from security markings on Kansas license plates, the presence of directional security markings in Kansas’ specifications cannot be justified. As a result of failures by the Department of Revenue, Kansas counties are projected to have a surplus of about 169,000 license plates at the end of 1987; this five-month oversupply of plates cost the State more than $228,000. Kansas’ testing requirements for reflective sheeting used on license plates appear to be reasonably related to the specifications, but past and current testing procedures have not always conformed with the tests called for in the written specifications.
Improving the Efficiency of the Central Motor Pool
Compared with other states, the Motor Pool appears to have a reasonable number of vehicles. The Motor Pool sometimes has more unassigned vehicles on hand than it needs, but it generally buys only as many vehicles each year as it expects to have to replace. Although some permanently assigned vehicles may not meet the requirements for permanent assignment, in some instances their assignnment appeared to be appropriate. Finally, the Motor Pool’s costs are about the same as other states, although some cost savings might result if State employees were encouraged to purchase gasoline from Department of Transportation facilities when possible.
Construction expenditures for the Milford Fish Hatchery have been about $4.6 million to date, substantially less than the $6 million cost that was projected. Milford Hatchery has not produced as many fish as planning documents projected, or as many as it has been assigned to produce. It also has not been able to reduce fish production costs as projected. Naturally occurring pollutants in the primary source of water chosen by the Department -- an outlet lake below the dam -- have caused most of the problems the Hatchery has had with diseased and dying fish since it opened. Water quality in the outlet lake seems to be improving, but another big concern for the Hatchery’s long-term operations may be the limited amounts of water available. Both improved management techniques and improved recordkeeping are needed to overcome existing problems and minimize future ones.
While the percentage of school children receiving special education services has dropped slightly in recent years, special education cost have increased by 36 percent. Increases in salaries and fringe benefits account for most of the increase in costs. Half the student files reviewed by the auditors lacked the documentation showing that the districts met the regulatory placement requirements.
Kansas provides loans and scholarships to medical, osteopathic, and optometry students. The Medical Scholarship program does not appear to have had an impact on overall retention rates, but does appear to be encouraging a larger proportion of graduates to practice in underserved areas. About 37 percent of Osteopathic Scholarship recipients stayed in Kansas. The Optometry program is too new to determine any impact it has had on retention rates.
Client Abuse Reporting Systems, Part II: Parsons and Norton State Hospitals and Kansas Neurological Institute
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.
Although State agencies use the contracts established, more contracts could be established if the information provided by the State’s accounting system allowed the Division of Purchases to determine which goods and services were purchased in larger quantities. Some bid specifications are written more restrictively than necessary, but surveyed vendors indicate that restrictive language in specifications does not deter them from bidding.
A September 1986 inquiry, in which Ombudsman personnel attempted to corroborate allegations against the Director of the El Dorado Honor Camp, did not exceed the Office’s statutory authority. However, some of the investigative techniques used may have been inappropriate.
Job Training Programs in Kansas, Part II: Longer-Term Results For Program Participants
The audit shows that the Work Incentive Training program increased the likelihood that successful clients would be working, but it did not improve the wages of those who were employed. Clients who successfully completed the Job Training Partnership Act program were more likely to be employed two years later than individuals who did not successfully complete the program, and they also earned higher wages. Parolees who completed vocational training while they were in prison were no more likely to be employed after two years, and their wages were no higher. And companies that received assistance from the Kansas Industrial Training program were well pleased with its results. Changes can be made to improve the occupational information available to agencies that provide training, and to improve the quality of information those agencies gather to evaluate program results.
The Highway Patrol could save $34,000 a year in operating costs if all non-patrol staff drove fuel-efficient, mid-size cars without police packages. If such cars become available with police packages, the Patrol could save an additional $144,000 a year by purchasing them for its road patrol staff. Additional cost-saving measures include better monitoring of maintenance expenditures, driving vehicles more miles before replacing them, and pooling vehicles in central locations.
Regulation and Operation of Cowley County Developmental Services
The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services generally enforced its regulations consistently at the six agencies visited. Cowley County Developmental Services’ handling of client funds was similar to other agencies’, but the auditors did find several weaknesses. The agency also charged significantly more for vocational services than other agencies. Cowley County Developmental Services had several problems with its financial management procedures, including violations of agency policies and failure to report all unpaid bills. Finally, the auditors investigated numerous complaints concerning the agency; some were apparently true, while others were not substantiated.
Out-of-State political action committees contributed $347,000 of the $7.3 million contributed to winning senators in 1984, winning representatives in 1986, and winning and losing Statewide candidates in 1986. Out-of-State committees that register with the State are required to report detailed information about their campaign finance activities. Those that do not register are required to disclose far less information, and in practice, the Public Disclosure Commission asks for even less information than State laws and regulations require. Some of Kansas’ campaign finance requirements are more stringent than those in surrounding states, but more information about out-of-state political action committees is generally available in those states.
Acquiring Maintenance Services for Computer Equipment
State agencies will spend about $5.2 million for computer maintenance contracts in fiscal year 1987, and about $6.1 million the next year. Such contracts are not cost-effective for microcomputers, and although they may be cost-effective for word processors, such equipment could be effectively replaced with microcomputers. In fiscal year 1987, maintenance contracts on microcomputers and word processors total about $520,000. Maintenance contracts for mainframes and minicomputers, which are considered to be essential, account for the bulk of the contract costs.
Department of Transportation officials can deviate from projects scheduled for work in the five-year highway improvement program if the reasons for those deviations are documented. The resurfacing project on Highway 81 was moved forward in the schedule several years, but the reasons for doing so were not well documented. The bridge replacement on Highway 4 was added to the program to cooperate with a drainage project. This decision was well documented.
New faculty members generally have less experience and lower rank than the faculty members they replace, but are paid nearly as much. Universities have some difficulties recruiting qualified applicants for positions; about one-fourth the job offers made were declined. Comparisons show that percentage increases in Regents’ faculty salaries between 1974 and 1985 generally kept up with inflation, but actual salaries and fringe benefits are generally lower than at the Regents’ peer institutions.
Problems Implementing the Kansas Business Integrated Tax System (K-BITS)
Because of numerous problems that have plagued the system’s development, the Department of Revenue cannot estimate when it will be complete or which taxes will eventually be covered. Adequate resources, continuity in personnel, and long-range planning that includes accurate cost and time estimates and provisions for a full-time project manager are needed if the system is to be completed.
Examining Prison Population Growth and Its Impact on Inmate Housing and Programs
Recent population increases have been caused by more parole and probation violators being returned to prison and fewer paroles being granted. The Parole Board’s policy requiring unanimous votes to release class A and B felons has little impact on overcrowding. More treatment programs and more minimum- and medium-security bedspaces are needed.
Client Abuse Reporting System at Winfield State Hospital
The client abuse reporting system failed to ensure that suspected abuse or neglect of Hospital residents was promptly reported and investigated, and that employees who abused or neglected residents were disciplined appropriately. A number of improvements have been made, but the report contains additional recommendations to address remaining problems.
Between 1980 and 1986, the number of abused or neglected children in the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ custody declined almost 21 percent. The Department established procedures to ensure that children are placed in the least restrictive setting possible, but did not always follow those procedures or document compliance. The Department needs to improve its foster care allocation formula, compliance, and documentation.
Blind Industries has cost money in recent years because product prices were based on outdated cost estimates. Blind Industries will likely continue to lose money because recently adjusted prices for some products do not cover the actual cost to produce the goods in the most recent year. Blind Industries needs to improve the frequency and quality of accounting reports produced for management, and management needs to make better use of some of the information that is already available.
Out-of-State Travel Reimbursements for Elected Officials
Statewide elected officials took 30 out-of-State trips in fiscal year 1986 that were reimbursed by organizations other than the State. No inappropriate payments were found; however, controls need to be strengthened to ensure that duplicate payments do not occur. The audit also discusses the legal requirements for signing municipal bonds and the associated trips taken for bond signings.
Estimated Cost for Additional Embellished Parchment Copies of House Resolutions (100-hour audit)
Costs of additional embellished parchment copies of House resolutions are, by House rule, to be recovered from the requesting legislator. These costs include the costs of producing the documents, mailing the documents, and accounting for amounts owed. Total costs depend not only on the number of documents requested but also on the number of places to which they will be sent.
Child Custody Determinations in Kansas Divorce Cases
Mothers were awarded sole child custody or primary residency in 81.7 percent of the cases sampled, while fathers got sole custody or primary residency in 10.7 percent of the cases. The remainder included cases of joint custody with residency equally shared between the divorcing parents, and cases in which custody was granted to other persons or agencies.
Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System: Part II
Statutory changes proposed or enacted over the past 10 years relating to the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System are summarized. The audit also compares benefits available to school and non-school members of the Public Employees Retirement System, and describes the differences in the disability experiences of surrounding states.
Cowley County Developmental Services, Inc.(100-hour audit)
Cowley County Development Services is a community-based agency that serves mentally retarded adults. This special audit showed that the agency was serving the required number of clients and was billing correctly for vocational services. However, there was evidence of incorrect payment to client employees, and the agency may not be follwoing accepted practices in determining client pay rates.