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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2006

Food stamp data may have been falsified

July 22, 2006

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The federal government is investigating the state welfare agency over allegations of falsified food stamp data, it was confirmed Friday.

The allegation is that Social and Rehabilitation Services falsified the dates on food stamp applications to show that they had been considered in a timely manner under federal regulations, when they had not.

"We're checking it out," said Darlene Barnes, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food and Nutrition office in Denver.

Barnes said her office has been monitoring the situation at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and plans another review next month.

A complaint about the alleged tampering last year prompted an internal SRS review, according to records obtained by the Journal-World.

The review looked at 31 cases selected at random and found "application dates had been changed for 25 applications solely for the purpose of meeting FS (food stamps) timeliness."

The cases looked at were taken from service centers in Atchison, Hiawatha, Lyndon and Topeka. The report states the changed dates didn't result in any loss of benefits.

SRS spokesman Mike Deines said the agency received a complaint from an SRS employee about altered dates on food stamp applications and found that employees had indeed changed the dates.

"One of our big pushes is customer service. These dates were part of the evaluation of workers, so there may have a been an effort to make these reports look good and on time," Deines said.

He said SRS took corrective action and has done periodic reviews since late last year to make sure the re-dating hasn't happened again. He said no employees were reprimanded.

Deines said SRS believes it has resolved the issue.

Barnes, the federal regional administrator, declined to speculate on what penalties, if any, Kansas could face. She emphasized the state agency "took corrective action."

In recent months, Kansas has been forced to refund millions of dollars in federal funds.

In June, Kansas paid the federal government $18.5 million after a federal audit disputed the formula used to bill Medicaid for services for school children with special needs.

And in May, the state refunded $14.1 million after an audit showed Medicaid had been billed 12 months of services per year instead of the allowed nine months.

State officials have blamed the spending mistakes, in part, on changing federal rules on reimbursement of Medicaid costs.

Comments

ASBESTOS 8 years, 5 months ago

Here we go again with a bungling agency.

WHY do these agencies thnk that they haved "customers"? They do no have costomers, they have "employers" as in the entire state of Kansas.

This attitude is what the problem.

classclown 8 years, 5 months ago

Why do I get the feeling that some needy people are going to end up getting screwed by this? I'm not talking about the scammers that shouldn't be getting it in the first place - they always find a way to get theirs - , but those that truly have a need for them.

I'm sure we'll be reading plenty more about this as everyone plays the blame game and get so caught up at pointing fingers that those that truly rely on their services will end up getting left by the wayside.

I'm sure hordes of illegals won't have any problems though.

scott3460 8 years, 5 months ago

Let's review:

The Repugs slash funding to social services programs because they are allegedly full of fraud and abuse.

The service time and volume obligations that the agencies are supposed to meet, of course, are not modified and they are expected to deliver in the same manner that they were expected to meet when staffed appropriately.

The Repugs conduct an audit and are shocked to find that when you slash an agency's budget corners are cut. Fortunately, they can splash the fraud across the the pages of their propaganda tools and whip the public in to a frenzy to support further erosion of government support for charitable work and assistance of our fellow citizens. This allows for more funds to be available for well connected defense contractors and the sorts of general graft that we have witnessed for the last six years. Well, some of us, I guess have witnessed it, most have their heads in the sand & are ignoring the misdeeds of our foul-mouthed little dictator.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 5 months ago

ASBESTOS, you're wrong. First, these sorts of things can and do happen in non-governmental organizations. Places like Westar and Enron. Second, if you follow the definition of a customer as someone who receives your work, they do have customers. Third, we are not their employers; they serve at the will of the Secretary of SRS. We have no input into their hire, discipline, termination, promotion, performance, &c. Nor do I want any--I have my hands full for nearly 70 hours a week with my own 20 employees; no way do I want to be responsible to carry out employment responsibilities for every State employee. And if we are their employers, that exposes us to certain employer liabilities--now, you don't really want to accept those liabilities for all State employees, do you, ASBESTOS?

And, Pogo, shouldn't the "poor sap" have let his/her superiors know? I would expect that person to be protected under State whistleblower regs. Your questions are probably quite good--and it seems to me those are the same questions the Feds are likely investigating.

[rant off]

ASBESTOS 8 years, 5 months ago

Gez WIlbur, where do I start.

FIRST: Enron and Westar are PRIVATE corps. SRS and USDA is NOT. THEY are SERVANTS, ie the name CIVIL SERVANTS. The Services they are SUPPOSED to deliver are the only game in town so to wpeak. You cannot go to another organization and get FOOD STAMPS.

YOU say:

" Third, we are not their employers; they serve at the will of the Secretary of SRS. We have no input into their hire, discipline, termination, promotion, performance, &c. Nor do I want any"

Absoutely NOT! THey work for THE TAXPAYER. NOt the Sec. and not the Legislature. The laws are passed for the Citizen, not someone woh bitches enough to get service. THird, the "services" they offer are "Compulsery", they cannot move into another "niche" market, the SRS must deliver these FOod Stamps with out predjudice, and for all who qualify, ie they have to follow RULES in doing so.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"I have my hands full for nearly 70 hours a week with my own 20 employees; no way do I want to be responsible to carry out employment responsibilities for every State employee."

Idiotic and STUPID statement, and not relevant. Your company is not qualified, so your comparision is not the same. THe problem is our agencies are all BROKEN.

"I would expect that person to be protected under State whistleblower regs."

They are supposed to be, but you still have to take on withering fire and SLOW deliberations, could starve or go bankrupt before actions support the whistleblower.

Falsifying documents for EXPEDIENCY in a governmental agency is a VERY BIG DEAL. I wonder if that is what KDHE did with all their Air PErmitting. THey penicl whipped a boatload of those permits because they were behind and not in compliance with the CAA. You think maybe they falsified the data and the document for exppediency sake.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow. Do I ever feel put in my place. Now I've learned from Pogo that Enron employees shredded documents out of love for their jobs. From ASBESTOS' highly-reasoned and iron-claddedly logical post I learned that laws are made for citizens, thus making them our very own employees. And I also learn from him/her that KDHE is committing exactly the same fraud as SRS! I've certainly learned my lesson about posting irrelevantly idiotic and stupid statements.

maxim 8 years, 5 months ago

I have worked for city, county & state government all my life. This FRAUD and CONSPIRACY is nothing new!!!! Our tax dollars continue to be wasted by figure heads that have no clue..."Deines said SRS believes it has resolved the issue." Oh really, how please?. What exactly was done? To whom? What happened to the employee that reported such malfeasance, fraud and conspiracy? He/she should have received a promotion!!!! However, having been in a similar situation I can only imagine the grief the employee with true ethics is through.

"Barnes, the federal regional administrator, declined to speculate on what penalties, if any, Kansas could face. She emphasized the state agency "took corrective action." Well, this is a very interesting comment, so accurate of a Federal Figure Head in charge of compliance. Who's in bed with whom. It almost would seem that Barnes & Deines got their stories straight before press contact.

Let me ask: if some poor citizen falsified Government documents what would happen? Just go ahead and falsify tax returns or whatever, no big deal according to the cronies from SRS and the USDA!!!

Maybe it's time to get the Inspector General and or the AG'S office involved. Appears to me the fraud & conspiracy may reach much further than the local and state offices. And, Barnes may be complicit as well.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 5 months ago

I actually worked for the SRS office here in Lawrence. I would surely love to meet the one who said the one that it isn't the one who bitches enough to get the services. Boy are you ever wrong. The loudest people down there DO get what they want from SRS. When they cut offices and eliminated job positions the current workers (and I can only comment on this one in Lawrence) had over 250% increase in clients. You tell me how you would expect 1 person to deal with over 600 new cases a week? Maybe that is in your ever logical and knowing crystal ball. Granted, Lawrence wasn't mentioned in any of the audited offices for being fraudelent but think about it for a second. I watched people come in there in new cars, designer clothes, more diamonds on the fingers, ears and wrists then I could ever imagine but "oh help me, I can't get a job, can't put food on my table,...) yet, you will see them at the clubs drinking and playing Bingo, shopping for clothes for them not their kids, and lets not forget the scratch off tickets and lottery. Yup, me the working fool has to help pay for her and (nope don't know who the father is to these four kids..sorry) I know that there are real flaws in the way the agency runs but when you have 1 person to do the job of five at any given time how would you perform? I forgot, it is easier to blame an agency and not the ones who actually make it that way. And the poor innocent downtrodden who come through the doors. Take a real look without the rose colored glasses and you would see a lot of hard working, overworked people trying the same way to make a living as everyone else doing the best they can with the little provided. My question is when it was suggested that we have it set up in every office to actually track and verify all the info that clients are asked to provide to help prevent wasted resources from going out the door to those that are just too dang lazy to get off their babymaking, without a dad of course, butts it was turned down? I am not saying that there aren't some that should lose their jobs for fruad but not all the workers are that way. It isn't an agency without morals but a few. Just like the way the world is in almost any job I have ever had. Within both the State and Federal Governments.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

He said SRS took corrective action and has done periodic reviews since late last year to make sure the re-dating hasn't happened again. He said no employees were reprimanded.

"no employees have been reprimanded" huh? did this just sorta happen by accident not on purposely??? c'mon this is wrong!

ASBESTOS 8 years, 5 months ago

"The loudest people down there DO get what they want from SRS."

That was my point sweetpea.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 5 months ago

Let's see in the last 2 months

KDHE Blew it with the UST on 9th street, and a house blew up.

THe state got caught billing for 12 months instead of 9 months on medicaid and have had to bay a boatload of money back/

Now SRS has back dated food stamps.

Our State agencies need to be torn down and rebuilt. They are old decrepit and living in the past. THey waste money and cannot deliver services effitively.

THAT was the SOLE reason I voted for Kathy. SHe said whe would clean it up. Hasn't happened, it has gotten worse.

More bad news to come I am sure.

oldgoof 8 years, 5 months ago

I just think ASBESTOS needs to learn more about civics...

i.e. that the Legislature passes laws, and the gov/administration administer them.

I think he/she thinks that state agency heads (he obviously has a burr up his saddle about KDHE) can willy-nilly change funding and statutory mandates in state programs.

The world of american govt is not as simple of efficient as Asbestos would like. I too am sorry for that. But that is divided govt.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 5 months ago

NO old goof, I think a lot of people need to be fired. I didn't say one thing about changing funding.

I KNOW that the legislature passes laws, that means that the agency with jurisdiction MUSt follow laws and enforce them. SO obviously they did NOT COMPLY WITH STATUATORY MANDATES! Did you read your post:

"I think he/she thinks that state agency heads (he obviously has a burr up his saddle about KDHE) can willy-nilly change funding and statutory mandates in state programs."

OBVIOUSLY, some department head thought they could, GEEZ! Want a quater to buy a clue yet?

That was waht this is about.... a Governmental Agency that broke the law big time, willingly, knowingly, and fraudulently.

I think YOU need to read the article a little better. YOU may like inefficient and fraudulent CIvil Servants and paying for them....I DON'T!

As for the burr in the saddle with KDEH, just a couple more weeks....just a couple more weeks.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

POGO is 100% Correct. IF a RANDOM sample came up with 80.6% falisified data, there is a systemic and systematic problem. 80.6% IS intentinal, way more than RANDOM error.

Additionally there was an article on July 1, about this agency getting a "bonus" for accuracy on the Food Stamp Program. Here it is, maybe the MO:

Kansas to receive bonus for food stamp accuracy J-W Staff Reports

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Topeka - Kansas is among states with the lowest error rates in their food stamp programs and will receive a nearly $1.6 million bonus for its efforts.

Kansas had an error rate of 4.37 percent, earning a bonus for the second straight year, according to Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Last year, the state received a $861,132 bonus; this year it will total $1,590,582. Kansas is one of 10 states with the lowest error rates.

"This is good news for our state," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said.

SRS said it planned to reinvest the bonus to enhance customer service.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well, you do have little error when you just make up dates and data.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

Same thing with KDHe, when they have a Screw up they trot out Sharon Watosn and tell her what to say, and there ya go.

maxim 8 years, 4 months ago

The numbers that pogo speaks of: "I think you divide 25 by 31 to establish a percentage. That's 80.6% which were falsified."

Only "31" were sampled? From what period? A "real" investigator would do a much larger sampling over a greater period of time. The present is nothing more than cursory "sampling"! A little more digging, in my opinion will amaze the masses. And, it needs to be done, now! Are there any late night, behind closed doors shredding or changing dates or GOD knows what else going as we speak???? It appears it may time to clean house at SRS, and that starts from the top.

Are you listening Ms. Barnes????? Where's law enforcement at?

Mr. Rothchild: There is much more here....you appear to be that can explain many questions through freedom of information. Please do.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the PM Pogo. I have seen these "hearings" before. THe State has very poor "sunchine" and accountability with hiring qualified individuals. They also promote very unprofessional and unqualified personnel because they are very good at kissing arse, not so much at the qualifications for the job at hand.

There is a larger story coming out in 2-3 weeks and will percipitate a rather large problem for the State of Kansas if the investigations goes the way I think it will go. This will be fuel added to the fire and the attorneys will flow into Kansas sueing the State.

As for the complaint by maxium the sample was not big enough. The sample was "Randomly selected" and found a rate of 25 out of 31. That is HUGE. You should expect a much smaller error rate, probably 3-5 in 31. Additionally, the "backdating" was ordered to keep the Agency from looking bad in the first place.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

pogo, wasn't meaning to imply peons were at fault!
just startled at, and noting that, no one was reprimanded. now, I agree more likely honcho(s) were behind this rather than peons in data entry. now, just why do you suppose that no one was reprimanded, and even more amazing, they chose to report that in their little press release??? seems very stinky indeed.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

It looks as if the Feds may be opening an investigation on these yahoos too. Great, the feds again, looking after another fraudulent Kansas Agency.

KSChick1 8 years, 4 months ago

tell us a story Marion!

nudges Marion

Please!

code_of_ethics 8 years, 4 months ago

Waiting patiently for the "truth" to unfold.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

MORE crap form SRS (Sucking Repeatative SUCKING)!

THose 2 starved girls in WIchita, the SRS KNEW about them!!

http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/15148066.htm

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