State Auditor Stacey Pickering Issues Reports Calling for Internal Auditors at State Agencies and Attention to Rural Healthcare

JACKSON, Miss. – On Wednesday, December 12, 2017, the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor (OSA) released two audit reports based on projects conducted by the Performance Audit division of OSA. These reports are meant to serve as a resource for the state leaders and those who influence policy.

A Review of Agency Compliance With the Mississippi Internal Audit Act

In 2003, the Mississippi Legislature passed the Mississippi Internal Auditing Act, which sought to “establish a full-time program of internal auditing to assist in improving university, community/junior college, and agency operations, to verify the existence of assets, and to identify opportunities for cost savings and revenue enhancement.”

The language in the act stated that full implementation was contingent upon “specific appropriation of available funding,” and OSA has determined that only twelve of nineteen State Agencies surveyed currently employ an internal audit departments that meets statutory qualifications.

OSA recommends the legislature revisit the Internal Auditing Act to ensure its full implementation, which would increase financial accountability in each respective agency.

The full report, including recommendations for the Legislature, can be found at http://www.osa.ms.gov/documents/performance/Internal%20Audit%20Review%20-%202017.pdf .

Assessing the Financial Health of Mississippi’s Independent County-Owned Rural Hospitals

Mississippi is home to nineteen rural, publicly-owned hospitals, which are tasked with providing healthcare for many non-urban Mississippians. These hospitals serve a community that is older, poorer, sicker, and more dependent upon public insurance than others.

In 2004, the Mississippi Legislature passed the Rural Health Availability Act, which allowed rural hospitals to more easily serve their respective communities, but these hospitals are still subject to many financial hardships.

Each hospital was scored using a Financial Strength Index (FSI), which is a copyrighted, baseline measurement. Only five rural, publicly-owned hospitals are rated as “Excellent” or “Good.” Six of these hospitals were rated as “Poor.”

The full report, including FSI components and recommendations from the Office of the State Auditor, can be found at http://www.osa.ms.gov/documents/performance/Rural%20Hospital%20Assessment%20-%202017.pdf

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