KERN COUNTY: Mental Health Department Mends Wrongs
Officials from Kern County's Department of Mental Health today are expected to tell county supervisors they are in the process of implementing recommendations from last month's "scathing" financial audit that urged the department to "clean up" its books. The Bakersfield Californian reports that the department has begun hiring additional staff, supervising employees more closely and purchasing new computer software. The audit, conducted last month by the county auditor- controller's office, had blasted the department for "sloppy record keeping, poor monitoring and enforcement of provider contracts and inadequate supervision of employees who handle client money." Department Director Diane Koditek said, "The audit report presents significant challenges. It is our intent to immediately begin corrective ventures and to develop ongoing improvement efforts." The mental health department has also hired an accountant and hopes to have a new program to monitor contractors operational by March. Within six months, a new software package will be installed to provide more accurate reporting of financial transactions. Already, the department has implemented greater oversight of loans to clients. The Californian reports that the county is planning on helping the department by allocating up to $10,000 for hiring a consultant (Bedell, 2/2).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.