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MORE WOE HEAPED ON TIMP CENTER
AUDIT QUESTIONS ADDITIONAL $1.5 MILLION IN MEDICAID PAYMENTS

SHARE MORE WOE HEAPED ON TIMP CENTER
AUDIT QUESTIONS ADDITIONAL $1.5 MILLION IN MEDICAID PAYMENTS

Approximately $1.5 million more in questioned Medicaid payments was discovered at Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center for fiscal 1987-88.

The center's latest independent audit report - completed by Hawkins, Borup, Cloward & Co. - brings the total of questioned funds to $3.3 million from fiscal 1985 to April 1987, the month Timp Mental Health administrators were accused of misusing more than $3.5 million in public funds.Audit reports from fiscal 1985-86 and 1986-87 show an estimated $1.8 million of disallowed Medicaid payments, inappropriate costs under various federal and state funding contracts.

"The possible outcome of these matters, which have been reported to appropriate federal and state officials, is uncertain at this time," the report says.

Denton Alexander, an accountant with Hawkins, Borup and Cloward, told Timp board members that the center received almost $3.6 million, or 51 percent of its total expenditures for 1987-88, from federal assistance.

"This shows that the center is very economically dependent on funds from government contracts," he said.

The inappropriate charges to the center reported in the 1987-88 audit resulted from excessive compensation through the contracting process and misuse of center credit cards for personal purchases. The money was paid to three top administrators - Glen R. Brown, former executive director; Carl Smith, former director of specialty programs; and Craig W. Stephens, former director of administrative services.

The three men pleaded guilty May 3, 1989, to numerous charges of misuse of public funds and counts of theft. The have been ordered to pay restitution amounting to almost $3.4 million.

The $1.5 million from fiscal 1987-88, however, will not be declared an unallowable cost until further study deems it as such, said Dave Lambert, attorney for the Timpanogos Mental Health Authority Board.

Almost $1.1 million, which paid for excessive contract compensation and personal use of credit cards and car allowances to Brown, Smith and Stephens, most likely will be declared unallowable, he said

Other costs are questioned because of the strict Medicaid guidelines, he said. "These are costs which were not technically processed in a proper manner and require further response and study to see if they are improper."

The center, for example, routinely paid employees a "meals not eaten" allowance whenever they worked through a lunch hour. Auditors questioned the practice as unreasonable.

The report points out numerous accounting errors at the center, such as the absence of a formally adopted budget document.