Ne­vada al­ters rule af­ter au­dits hid­den

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

CAR­SON CITY, Nev. — Ne­vada Gov. Brian San­doval plans to re­quire state agen­cies to dis­close all U.S. re­views af­ter he learned from The As­so­ci­ated Press about prob­lems at ru­ral pub­lic health clin­ics that have cost the state hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­eral dol­lars over the past two years.

San­doval’s of­fice said that he and state fi­nance of­fi­cials will re­scind the dis­cre­tion of high-rank­ing state em­ploy­ees to ei­ther tell their bosses about un­flat­ter­ing re­ports or to stick them in a drawer in­def­i­nitely — a change that could lead to the un­veil­ing of hun­dreds of U.S. re­views done to main­tain fed­eral fund­ing.

The state lacks re­quire­ments for of­fi­cials to dis­close pos­si­ble prob­lems in hun­dreds of grants and pro­grams, be­cause in most cases, they are not forced to share fed­eral or in­ter­nal re­views out­side their of­fice.

The U.S. De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices’ au­dits found mis­used grant funds, sloppy record-keep­ing and un­der­trained staff at state-run re­pro­duc­tive health clin­ics in 2015. Of­fi­cials de­nied Ne­vada’s ap­pli­ca­tion for $600,000 in an­nual fund­ing for the clin­ics eight months later.

The re­port on the Ti­tle X fam­ily plan­ning pro­gram went di­rectly to the state ad­min­is­tra­tor who over­sees those ser­vices. It was not heard of again for two years, when the ad­min­is­tra­tor asked law­mak­ers for money.

De­spite get­ting more fund­ing from the state, the clin­ics still have to turn some peo­ple away.

Un­der the rule that the gover­nor, sec­re­tary of state and at­tor­ney gen­eral were ex­pected to of­fi­cially ap­prove next month, agen­cies must share with au­di­tors all fed­eral re­views show­ing that fixes need to be made.

Au­di­tors and other of­fi­cials then will know to fol­low up on the prob­lems.

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