Report 2014-118 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2014-118: California Department of Developmental Services: Its Process for Assessing Fees Paid by Parents of Children Living in Residential Facilities Is Woefully Inefficient and Inconsistent (Release Date: January 2015)

Recommendations to Developmental Services, Department of
Number Recommendation Status

To ensure timelier fee assessments, Developmental Services should hold regional centers accountable for providing the monthly placement reports and copies of information letters required by state regulations. To encourage compliance, Developmental Services should specify in its regional center contracts that noncompliant regional centers will pay financial penalties equal to the amount of revenue lost because of their inaction.

Will Not Implement

To make the initial parental fee assessment and annual redetermination processes more efficient, consistent, and transparent, Developmental Services should determine, as part of a formal policy development process, what family expenses it will consider in its determination of parental fees and what components of the fee determination require documentation from the parents. Developmental Services should then clearly communicate these policies to parents and staff and should reinforce these policies with regular management review of fee assessments.

Fully Implemented

To ensure that the parental fee remains appropriate for each family's current financial condition, Developmental Services should complete annual redeterminations as specified in state regulations. To this end, department management should create a mechanism to determine which accounts have not had a redetermination as required and should follow up with staff to ensure that this work is completed.

Fully Implemented

Developmental Services should eliminate inconsistency between the information it accepts and analyzes as part of the initial fee determination and the information it reviews as part of the appeals process. The fees reassessed during the appeals process should be based on an established fee schedule and should not be based solely on staff judgment. Any exceptions to the fee schedule should be justified in writing and approved by the program manager after thorough review.

Fully Implemented

To decrease the risk of determining appeal outcomes based on inaccurate information, Developmental Services should require management oversight and review of appeals. This review should include a review of appeal worksheets for accuracy prior to appeals committee meetings. To allow for a thorough management review, Developmental Services should require staff to note the reasoning for any adjustments to the calculation of parents' income and expenses.

Fully Implemented

Developmental Services should review its appeals process to ensure that it follows appeal-related timelines and follows a consistent process for accepting requests for appeals. As part of this effort, Developmental Services should add a date field to the appeals log for when parents are notified of the outcome of their appeal and should ensure that existing data fields contain accurate information.

Fully Implemented

Developmental Services should review and update its process for collecting on delinquent accounts. This update should include a revision to the policies and procedures manual, training for field agents, and regular management review to ensure consistent adherence to the policy. As part of the update, Developmental Services should clarify when to designate an account as uncollectible.

Fully Implemented

To improve its administration of the Parental Fee Program, Developmental Services should engage in a formal policy development process that results in an updated policies and procedures manual by July 2015. The manual should clarify management expectations, describe regular program manager oversight, and include summary-level performance indicators that must be shared with department officials on an ongoing basis.

Fully Implemented

To efficiently locate records pertinent to the Parental Fee Program, Developmental Services should update its retention policy and centralize all the files and records supporting the program.

Fully Implemented

To improve management oversight of the Parental Fee Program, Developmental Services should establish performance measures related to the timeliness of placement identification, information sharing with parents, a review of financial information and determination of fees, the billing of subsequent fees, and the completion of the appeals process when applicable.

Fully Implemented

To improve accuracy and identify areas for initial and ongoing staff training, Developmental Services should increase management oversight of the initial fee assessment and redetermination processes to include a review of assessment worksheets for accuracy, proper support, and timeliness.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status

To help ensure that fees under Developmental Services' Parental Fee Program are fair, the Legislature should require that the department's initial fee assessments, redeterminations, and its appeal-related evaluations be based upon the same information, and should require that parents have the opportunity to challenge Developmental Services' previous calculations for accuracy and completeness on appeal, and that any adjusted fee should be based on the approved fee schedule and not simply on the judgment of department staff. Before enacting this legislation, state lawmakers should verify that Developmental Services has reviewed and revised its initial fee assessment and redetermination process to clarify what expenses will be considered when determining whether parents qualify for fee reductions.

Legislation Enacted

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