THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS CLAIMED
BY THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF
By conducting independent and objective audits, evaluations and investigations, we inspire public confidence in the integrity and security of SSA's programs and operations and protect them against fraud, waste and abuse. We provide timely, useful and reliable information and advice to Administration officials, Congress and the public.
The Inspector General Act created independent audit and investigative units, called the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The mission of the OIG, as spelled out in the Act, is to:
Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits and investigations
relating to agency programs and operations.
Promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency within the agency.
Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs and operations.
Review and make recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to agency programs and operations.
Keep the agency head and the Congress fully and currently informed of problems in agency programs and operations.
To ensure objectivity, the IG Act empowers the IG with:
Independence to determine what reviews to perform.
Access to all information necessary for the reviews.
Authority to publish findings and recommendations based on the reviews.
We strive for continual improvement in SSA's programs, operations and management by proactively seeking new ways to prevent and deter fraud, waste and abuse. We commit to integrity and excellence by supporting an environment that provides a valuable public service while encouraging employee development and retention and fostering diversity and innovation.
Date: March 23, 2007
To: Paul D. Barnes
Regional Commissioner Atlanta
From: Inspector General
Subject: Administrative Costs Claimed by the Florida Division of Disability Determinations (A-15-06-16127)
The objectives of our audit were to evaluate the Florida Division of Disability Determination's (FL-DDD) internal controls over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs, determine whether costs claimed by the FL-DDD were allowable and properly allocated and funds were properly drawn. Our audit included the administrative costs claimed by the FL-DDD during Fiscal Years (FY) 2004 and 2005.
The Disability Insurance (DI) program, established under Title II of the Social Security Act (Act), provides benefits to wage earners and their families in the event the wage earner becomes disabled. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, established under Title XVI of the Act, provides benefits to financially needy individuals who are aged, blind, and/or disabled.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for implementing policies for the development of disability claims under the DI and SSI programs. Disability determinations under both DI and SSI are performed by disability determination services (DDS) in each State, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia in accordance with Federal regulations. In carrying out its obligation, each DDS is responsible for determining claimants' disabilities and ensuring that adequate evidence is available to support its determinations. To assist in making proper disability determinations, each DDS is authorized to purchase medical examinations, x rays, and laboratory tests on a consultative basis to supplement evidence obtained from the claimants' physicians or other treating sources.
SSA reimburses the DDS for 100 percent of allowable expenditures up to its approved funding authorization. The DDS withdraws Federal funds through the Department of the Treasury's (Treasury) Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) system to pay for program expenditures. Funds drawn down must comply with Federal regulations and intergovernmental agreements entered into by Treasury and States under the Cash Management Improvement Act of 1990.
An advance or reimbursement for costs under the program must comply with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A 87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments. At the end of each quarter of the fiscal year, each DDS submits a State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs (SSA-4513) to account for program disbursements and unliquidated obligations. The Form SSA 4513 reports expenditures and unliquidated obligations for personnel service costs, medical costs, indirect costs, and all other nonpersonnel costs.
The Florida Department of Health (FL-DOH) is the FL-DDD's parent agency. The
FL-DDD central office is located in Tallahassee, Florida. The FL-DDD also has
branch offices in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, and Tampa in Florida.
RESULTS OF REVIEW
Generally, the FL-DDD had effective controls over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs; costs claimed by the FL-DDD were allowable and properly allocated; and funds were properly drawn. However, improvements are needed in the area of medical costs. Our review of administrative costs disclosed that the FL DDD claimed consultative examination (CE) costs of $1,055,629 that exceeded the highest allowable rate paid by Federal or other agencies in the State for the same or similar type of service. Additionally we found for FY 2005 the FL-DDD had overdrawn SSA funds totaling $1,323,475.
CONSULTATIVE EXAMINATION COSTS
For FYs 2004 and 2005, we found that in certain instances the FL-DDD reimbursed medical providers at payment rates in excess of the maximum rates paid by Federal or other agencies in the State. The related excess CE payments totaled $1,055,629.
Federal regulations require that each State determine the payment rates for medical or other services necessary to make determinations of disability. The rates may not exceed the highest rate paid by Federal or other agencies in the State for the same or similar types of service. The State is responsible for monitoring and overseeing the rates of payment for medical and other services to ensure the rates do not exceed the highest rate paid by Federal or other agencies in the State.
We compared the 2004 Calendar Year (CY) Medicare fee schedule with the fees paid by the FL-DDD for selected medical examinations dated January through September 2004. We determined FL-DDD reimbursed physicians $596,929 in excess of the 2004 Medicare rates. FL-DDD staff stated the basis for setting its CE fee schedule was the 1991 Medicare fee schedule rates. In August 2004, the FL-DDD updated its medical fee schedule to conform to the CY 2004 Medicare fee schedule. This schedule was approved by the SSA Atlanta regional office. However, we cannot determine whether SSA gave approval to the fee schedule prior to the revised August 2004 medical fee schedule.
For our CY 2005 comparison, we selected CE authorizations dated January through
September 2005. We found for FY 2005, the FL-DDD continued to rely on its revised
August 2004 medical fee schedule, although Medicare revised some fee amounts
for CY 2005. As a result, the FL-DDD paid $458,700 in excess CE payments. For
FL-DDD to comply with POMS for CEs incurred after January 1, 2005 and later, the FL-DDD needed to lower its fee amounts to the 2005 Medicare fee level. FL-DDD did not revise its fee schedule; instead it continued to charge fees based on its 2004 medical fee schedule. According to the FL-DDD staff, they did not revise the fees because they would lose a number of medical vendors, which are necessary for making disability determinations.
Based on the POMS, SSA should work with the FL-DDD to determine if approval would have been granted to charge CE fees in excess of Medicare rates for FY 2004 and 2005. If approval would not have been granted then SSA should take appropriate action, such as, instructing the FL-DDD to refund the excess CE payments and limit future CE rates of payment. Further, SSA should ensure all future revisions to CE fees in excess of the current Medicare fee rates receive approval before implementation.
According to Federal regulations "A State and a Federal Program Agency must limit the amount of funds transferred to the minimum required to meet a State's actual and immediate cash needs."
In FY 2005, the FL-DDD overdrew $1,323,475 in excess of its disbursements as reported on Form SSA-4513 for the period ended September 30, 2006. Treasury ASAP cash management records indicated the FL-DDD had withdrawn $92,092,767. The SSA-4513 disbursements were $90,769,292.
FL-DDD overdrew funds because its indirect cost rate was retroactively adjusted in July 2006. Consequently, this adjustment decreased FL-DDD's indirect costs for the period July 2004 through June 2006. Subsequent to our September 30, 2006 analysis, the FL-DDD restored the overdrawn funds to ASAP.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Our review of administrative costs generally found the FL-DDD had effective controls over the accounting and reporting of administrative costs. Further, we found costs claimed by the FL-DDD were allowable and properly allocated, and funds properly drawn. However, we did find that in certain instances, the FL-DDD's medical payment rates exceeded the highest rate paid by Federal or other agencies in the State, resulting in excess payments of $1,055,629 for FYs 2004 and 2005. Additionally, we found the FL-DDD experienced a decrease in indirect cost which caused an overdraw of SSA funds in FY 2005 by $1,323,475. Subsequent to our fieldwork, FL-DDD restored the overdrawn funds to ASAP.
We recommend SSA:
1. Work with the FL-DDD to determine if approval would have been granted to charge CE fees in excess of Medicare rates for FY 2004 and 2005. If approval would not have been granted then SSA should take appropriate action, such as, instructing the FL-DDD to refund the excess CE payments and limit future CE rates of payment.
2. Ensure FL-DDD receives approval for CE fees in excess of current Medicare fee rates before implementation.
Although the SSA did not indicate a concurrence of the first recommendation, the information they provided indicates it carried out the intent of our recommendation, and ultimately has decided it would have approved the use of CE fee levels in question to maintain a number of medical vendors. SSA agreed with the second recommendation. The full text of the Agency's comments is included in Appendix D.
STATE AGENCY COMMENTS
The FL-DDD concurred with both recommendations. The full text of the State Agency's comments is included in Appendix E.
We appreciate the comments received from SSA and FL-DDD and believe the responses and planned actions adequately address our recommendations. However, regarding Recommendation 1, in the future the FL-DDD should receive approval to use higher rates from SSA prior to implementation.
Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr.
APPENDIX A - Acronyms
APPENDIX B - Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX C - Florida Division of Disability Determinations Medical Costs
APPENDIX D - Agency Comments
APPENDIX E - State Agency Comments
APPENDIX F - OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
ACT Social Security Act
ASAP Automated Standard Application for Payment
CE Consultative Examination
C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations
DDS Disability Determination Services
DI Disability Insurance
FLAIR Florida Accounting Information Resource System
FL-DDD Florida Division of Disability Determinations
FL-DOH Florida Department of Health
FY Fiscal Year
I Levy I Levy Case Processing System
OMB Office of Management and Budget
P.L. Public Law
POMS Program Operations Manual System
SSA Social Security Administration
SSI Supplemental Security Income
Treasury Department of the Treasury
U.S.C. United States Code
Scope and Methodology
To achieve our objectives, we:
Reviewed applicable Federal laws and regulations, pertinent parts of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Program Operations Manual System and other criteria relevant to administrative costs claimed by the Florida Division of Disability Determinations (FL-DDD) and the draw down of SSA funds.
Interviewed staff and officials at the FL-DDD, Florida Department of Health, SSA's Atlanta Regional Office and Headquarters Finance Office.
Evaluated and tested internal controls regarding accounting, financial reporting, and cash management activities.
Reconciled State accounting records to the administrative costs reported by the FL DDD on the State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs (SSA-4513) for Fiscal Years (FY) 2004 and 2005.
Examined specific administrative expenditures (personnel, medical services, and all other nonpersonnel costs) incurred and claimed by the FL-DDD for FYs 2004 and 2005 on the SSA-4513. We used statistical sampling to select expenditures to test for documentation of the medical services, personnel, and all other nonpersonnel costs.
Examined and recalculated indirect costs claimed by the FL-DDD for FYs 2004 and 2005.
Compared the amount of SSA funds drawn for support of FL-DDD operations to the cost records as reported on SSA-4513.
We determined the data provided by FL-DDD used in our audit was sufficiently reliable to achieve our audit objectives. We assessed the reliability of the data by reconciling it to the costs claimed on the SSA-4513. We also conducted detailed audit testing on selected data elements in the electronic data files. Additionally, we relied on the FL-DDD I Levy Case Processing System (I Levy) records for our consultative examination (CE) analysis. We believe for this analysis, the I-Levy records were sufficiently reliable. We performed our audit work at the FL-DDD central office in Tallahassee, Florida, along with limited work in the Pensacola, Florida branch office. Work was also conducted in our Office of Audit at SSA Headquarters. We conducted fieldwork from July 2006 through November 2006. Our audit was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Our sampling methodology encompassed the four general areas of costs reported on the SSA-4513 (1) personnel, (2) medical, (3) indirect, and (4) all other nonpersonnel costs. We obtained electronic records that supported the personnel, medical, and all other nonpersonnel costs for FYs 2004 and 2005 for use in sampling. These records were obtained from the Florida Accounting Information Resource system (FLAIR) used by the State of Florida and the FL-DDD for the preparation of the SSA 4513. Analytical work was conducted for the indirect costs (see the indirect cost section below). We obtained I Levy records for our comparison of CE fees per the FL-DDD fee schedule to the Medicare fee schedules for Calendar Years 2004 and 2005.
We randomly selected 1 pay period in the most recent year under review. We then selected a random sample of 50 regular employees. We tested FL-DDD payroll records to ensure it correctly paid employees and adequately documented these payments.
For medical consultant costs, we selected 1 pay period in the most recent year under review. We then selected a random sample of 50 consultants. We verified that the medical consultants were paid in accordance with the approved contract.
We sampled 100 items (50 items from each FY) using a stratified random sample of medical costs based on the proportion of medical evidence of record and consultative examination costs to total medical costs claimed. Additionally, we conducted analytical work using I Levy data records to determine if the FL-DDD rates exceed the highest rate paid by Federal or other agencies in the State for the same or similar types of service.
We calculated the FL-DDD indirect costs for FYs 2004 and 2005 by applying the federally approved rates to the payroll cost bases (direct salaries and wages including all fringe benefits). For the SSA-4513 reports, for the period ended December 31, 2005, we applied the final rate of 7.7 percent for the period October 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004 and the provisional rate of 8.8 percent for the period July 1, 2004 to September 30, 2005. On July 1, 2006, the provisional rate of 8.8 percent was revised to a final rate of 5.1 percent. As a result, we recalculated the FY 2004 and 2005 indirect costs and compared our results to the FL-DDD revised SSA-4513 reports as of June 30, 2006.
All Other Nonpersonnel Costs
We selected a stratified random sample of 100 items (50 items for each FY) from the All Other Non-personnel Costs category (except for occupancy). Before selecting the sample items, we stratified the transactions in the nine cost categories. We then distributed the 50 sample items for each year between categories based on the proportional distribution of the costs. We conducted a 100 percent review of the DDS occupancy costs for 1 randomly selected month in FYs 2004 and 2005. Also, we reviewed the occupancy costs for the final month contained in our electronic data files for FYs 2004 and 2005.
Florida Division of Disability Determinations Medical Costs
State Agency Comments
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Victoria Vetter, Director, Financial Audit Division, (410) 966-9081
Mark Meehan, Acting Audit Manager, (410) 966-7147
Sig Wisowaty, Auditor-in-Charge
Brian Karpe, Audit Manager
Steven Sachs, Senior Auditor
Sandra Westfall, Program Specialist
Florence Wolford, Auditor
Brennan Kraje, Statistician
Annette DeRito, Writer/Editor
For additional copies of this report, please visit our web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/oig
or contact the Office of the Inspector General's Public Affairs Specialist at
(410) 965-3218. Refer to Common Identification Number
Overview of the Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is comprised of our Office of Investigations (OI), Office of Audit (OA), Office of the Chief Counsel to the Inspector General (OCCIG), and Office of Resource Management (ORM). To ensure compliance with policies and procedures, internal controls, and professional standards, we also have a comprehensive Professional Responsibility and Quality Assurance program.
Office of Audit
OA conducts and/or supervises financial and performance audits of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) programs and operations and makes recommendations to ensure program objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. Financial audits assess whether SSA's financial statements fairly present SSA's financial position, results of operations, and cash flow. Performance audits review the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of SSA's programs and operations. OA also conducts short-term management and program evaluations and projects on issues of concern to SSA, Congress, and the general public.
Office of Investigations
OI conducts and coordinates investigative activity related to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in SSA programs and operations. This includes wrongdoing by applicants, beneficiaries, contractors, third parties, or SSA employees performing their official duties. This office serves as OIG liaison to the Department of Justice on all matters relating to the investigations of SSA programs and personnel. OI also conducts joint investigations with other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
Office of the Chief Counsel to the Inspector General
OCCIG provides independent legal advice and counsel to the IG on various matters, including statutes, regulations, legislation, and policy directives. OCCIG also advises the IG on investigative procedures and techniques, as well as on legal implications and conclusions to be drawn from audit and investigative material. Finally, OCCIG administers the Civil Monetary Penalty program.
Office of Resource Management
ORM supports OIG by providing information resource management and systems security. ORM also coordinates OIG's budget, procurement, telecommunications, facilities, and human resources. In addition, ORM is the focal point for OIG's strategic planning function and the development and implementation of performance measures required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.