Inappropriate Handling of Patients' Personal Funds by the City of St. Louis Health and Hospital Division

HRD-79-120: Published: Sep 25, 1979. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1979.

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A review was conducted of alleged improper use of Federal funds by the City St. Louis Health and Hospital Division. GAO found that although Federal funds were not improperly used, the personal funds of Medicaid patients at the Truman Restoration Center were misused, improperly accounted for, and inadequately controlled. The patients' personal funds are individual allowances that Medicaid patients in nursing homes are permitted to retain from their income, or are provided through cash assistance. A minimum of $25 per month is allowed to cover the purchase of incidental personal items such as clothing, candy, and smoking material. In addition, it was alleged that questionable purchases were made with patients' funds and that the method of handling such funds did not comply with Medicaid regulations.

The Truman Center misused patients' funds to purchase office equipment; handled some patients' personal funds so that specific charges to the funds of specific patients were not recorded; collected flat amounts each month from patients' personal funds for supplies and services not covered by Medicaid; and purchased items with patients' funds which did not directly or equitably benefit each contributing patient. Center officials agreed that changes are needed for their facilities to comply with Medicaid laws for handling patients' funds.

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