Better Accountability Needed at the Medical University of South Carolina

AFMD-81-32: Published: Feb 27, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 1981.

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The Medical University of South Carolina is a State-supported university which also receives revenues from Federal grants and contracts. GAO investigated allegations concerning: (1) mismanagement of financial resources at the university; (2) limited action to correct known problems; and (3) limited Federal and State monitoring efforts.

Internal controls at the university are inadequate to ensure that Federal and State funds made available to the university are properly accounted for and used for the purposes intended. Detailed records for equipment purchased by the university under two federally funded projects could not show the location, need, or use of the equipment. As a result of inadequate criteria and policies for incurring entertainment expenses and accounting for such costs, it was difficult to determine the total amount spent on entertainment-related activities. Safeguards over controlled substances could not ensure that drugs are properly dispensed and recorded or that drugs returned to the pharmacy for disposal are properly accounted for. The university has not taken effective action to resolve these problems. In addition, State and Federal audits have been too limited to monitor the university's use of funds or to ensure corrective action on previously identified problems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should determine whether recovery should be made for that portion of the equipment which (1) was purchased without Federal approval; (2) cannot be located; (3) is not being used; and (4) is being used outside the grant-supported area.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct that any further Federal funding be contingent upon a showing by the university that corrective action has been taken to ensure that internal controls are adequate to ensure proper accountability of those funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

 

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