Los Angeles County to Audit Office of AIDS Programs and Policy over ‘Conflict of Interest’ Allegations
Los Angeles County officials next week plan to audit the county's Office of AIDS Programs and Policy over concerns about the distribution of $80 million in county funds and state and federal grants, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports (Rester, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 7/1). The county Board of Supervisors ordered the audit in March after HIV/AIDS activists and county officials expressed concerns that AIDS office Director Chuck Henry, who also heads the office's 50-member HIV Commission and determines the distribution of funds, had a "conflict of interest." Richard Espinoza, health deputy for Supervisor Don Knabe, said, "Our office has extreme concerns of what we're hearing from the community." In addition, county officials have alleged that the AIDS office has refused to submit reports, such as budgets. "If the board officers aren't getting information on a timely basis, something is definitely wrong," Espinoza said, adding, "The information we get or don't get from the (Office of AIDS) next week will determine what we do next" (Associated Press, 7/1). Henry, who has directed the AIDS office for four years, said that by law the office distributes grants "according to need." He added that "he is confident" the audit will "show the money is being distributed fairly" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 7/1).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.