A state audit released this week shows that the Utah Department of Workforce Services has cut down on errors enrolling people for benefits and training, and is doing a much better job complying with federal regulations. A previous state audit of the Department showed a consistent pattern of non-compliance, resulting in millions of dollars in questioned costs.
In last year’s review, the Office of the Utah State Auditor found that the Department of Workforce Services had a 20 percent error rate in administering the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 59 percent of the cases audited for the Workforce Investment Act - a federally funded job training program -resulted in some type of error. DWS spokesperson Nic Dunn says the department took the audit seriously.
“We’ve addressed the issues in the last audit. We’ve recognized the problems, we’ve implemented a lot of procedures to improve those," Dunn says.
The state’s most recent audit shows that the error rate for the Workforce Investment Act dropped to 20 percent. And the error rate for the Children’s Health Insurance Program has dropped to under 7 percent.
"We still have a lot of work moving forward," Dunn says. "But we’re confident we can bring these solutions to bear and continue to see some improvement in the next few years." He says the improvements were achieved with additional staff checks on eligibility requirements, computer systems which automatically stop benefits when someone becomes ineligible for a program, and an internal performance review team, among other things. Dunn says the department achieved these improvements without hiring any additional staff.