District of Columbia:

Source of Funding for Needle Exchange Programs

AIMD-00-318R: Published: Sep 15, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 18, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined whether the funds used for the needle exchange program in the District of Columbia complied with provisions of the Fiscal Year 2000 Appropriations Act for the District of Columbia prohibiting the use of appropriated funds for such programs.

GAO noted that: (1) its work did not identify any noncompliance with the legislative prohibition against using appropriated funds for a needle exchange program in the District during fiscal year (FY) 2000; (2) according to District officials, Prevention Works was the only organization that conducted a needle exchange program in the District during FY 2000; (3) a Prevention Works official said that the organization received no funding from the District of Columbia for the period October 1999 to August 2000; (4) however, one contributor to Prevention Works--Whitman-Walker Clinic--was a recipient of District of Columbia FY 2000 appropriated funds; (5) officials from Whitman-Walker Clinic, which conducted the needle exchange program prior to FY 1999, told GAO that all funds it contributed to Prevention Works were from private contributions; (6) a walk-through of Whitman-Walker Clinic's financial management system demonstrated that the system has in place internal controls to segregate private funds from District appropriated funds; (7) these safeguards appear to meet the requirements of section 150(a) and (b) of the District's FY 2000 appropriations act; (8) in addition, an independent public accounting firm performed certain procedures on the clinic's financial records in meeting the audit requirements of the Single Audit Act for fiscal years 1998 and 1999; and (9) the accounting firm reported no material internal control weakness or material noncompliance with laws, regulations, and contracts or grant provisions.

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