Contra Costa County Supervisors to Request Audit of County Health Department
Two Contra Costa County supervisors today will request an "outside" audit of the county health department after a "critical" grand jury report stated that the agency was in "such financial peril" that services for the poor and uninsured would have to be "slash[ed]," the Contra Costa Times reports. In a June report, the grand jury said the health department "exceeded" its 1999-2000 budget by about $10 million, and that this year's budget would be "overrun" by about $17 million. Also, the report found that the health department does not attempt to "meet its budget," cut costs or seek additional funding and lacks an "internal auditing" process. However, in a written response to the grand jury report, the county administrator's office said the report's findings were "inaccurate," adding that the health department closed the last fiscal year with a surplus of $127,000. The response also indicated that the department does not expect a "budget overrun" this year. Calling an outside review "a good business decision," County Supervisors Gayle Uilkema and Mark DeSaulnier are asking the Board of Supervisors to hire a consultant to audit the agency and "find ways" to increase revenue and cut costs at the county's hospitals and clinics. The grand jury report also recommended an independent audit. The Times reports that the audit could cost up to $100,000 and would likely be completed within six months after a consultant is hired (Condes, Contra Costa Times, 7/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.