Oversight Watch: Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau finds holes in DHS’ administration of pandemic funding and supplies

May 26, 2023 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Anthony LoCoco

A note from IRG CIO Director Anthony LoCoco: 

—The Department of Health Services (DHS) received $202.5M during the pandemic to support grants to long term health care facilities and emergency medical services providers and to purchase ventilators for hospitals, fire departments, and other emergency medical providers.

—A report by the Legislative Audit Bureau shows that the process of awarding grants was flawed. The DHS did not always obtain the necessary documentation and failed to lay out a written procedure for reviewing amounts requested. In one case, for example, a nursing home was given $322,600 in grants which had not provided proof of its losses due to COVID.

—The report also shows that the DHS failed to adequately track nearly $39M worth of ventilators which resulted in missing six ventilators worth a total of $122,300. DHS failed to take proper inventory, track the maintenance of the ventilators, and set up a plan for the future use of the expensive equipment.

—The report ends with a plea for public oversight: “Requiring DHS to publicly report this information would provide increased transparency of the results of OIG’s efforts for ensuring integrity in the programs DHS administers and DHS’s internal operations.”