Proos: DHS audit shows need for greater accountability


LANSING-A state audit of the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) shows the need for increased accountability, said Sen. John Proos.

“The auditor general’s report is a warning sign that DHS’ verification process is flawed,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “As legislators, we have a duty to oversee use of taxpayer dollars and this lack of information makes it virtually impossible to properly do that job. One of the most alarming aspects of the audit is that we cannot even get reasonable people to agree on how big of problem we may have.”

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) released an audit of the entire department in June 2011, covering the time period from Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2010. Representatives of the auditor general’s office recently testified before a joint legislative panel of which Proos is a member.

The OAG said it looked at 31 random Family Independence Program cases and found that for 24 of them, the department could not produce all necessary eligibility documentation.

“If the department’s actual documentation error rate is even a third of what the audit’s small sample size indicated, it is unacceptable,” Proos said. “The only way to stop fraud and abuse and ensure that the people who need state assistance are receiving it is to improve the system.”

Proos noted that documentation errors do not necessarily indicate abuse in each case, but make it difficult to identify actual fraud.

“As a result of this report and similar issues in the past, DHS Director Corrigan is taking steps to correct the problem and I will help her in any way I can to increase accountability in one of the state’s largest departments,” Proos said. “Especially during tough economic and budget times, we owe it to Southwest Michigan families to ensure that their tax dollars are being used wisely and effectively.”