Los Angeles County Auditors Reject More Than 15% of Consultants’ Expenses for Work at King/Drew Medical Center
Los Angeles County auditors rejected more than $206,000, or 15%, of the $1.3 million in expenses Navigant Consulting submitted for its work at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reports. Auditors on Oct. 14 said that the expenses were for unauthorized trips and first-class travel (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 10/15).
Navigant -- which is working under a one-year, $15 million contract to implement reforms at county-owned King/Drew -- submitted expenses that had requested reimbursements for the same flight twice and for flights that were never taken (California Healthline, 9/26).
County Auditor-Controller J. Tyler McCauley said in a letter addressed to the Board of Supervisors that many of Navigant's errors were from "differences between the restrictive travel policy used by the county and the company's more liberal policy." However, some were just errors. "We found no indication that Navigant intentionally overbilled the county," McCauley wrote.
To address the situation, county Department of Health Services Director Thomas Garthwaite recommended that the county give Navigant a set percentage of its fees for travel and lodging, instead of requiring the firm to justify each expense and submit receipts to the county. Garthwaite said the percentage would be based on the expenses that the county auditor approved during the first eight months of Navigant's contract.
According to the Times, county DHS plans to recommend extending Navigant's contract for several more months (Los Angeles Times, 10/15).