Report I2019-3 Recommendation 11 Responses

Report I2019-3: Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees: Wasteful and Improper Travel Payments, Improper Promotion and Hiring Practices, and Misuse of State Resources (Release Date: May 2019)

Case Number I2016-1298

Recommendation #11 To: State Hospitals, Department of

State Hospitals should provide training to travel unit staff responsible for auditing travel expense claims to recognize travel patterns that may indicate improper and excessive travel expense claims.

Agency Response From June 2019

In April 2019 the deputy director of administration issued an electronic communication to all employees reinforcing that the travel conducted for state business must be conducted based on the rules defined in the State Hospitals Travel Guide. In May 2019 travel unit staff was provided training about identifying and recognizing potential travel issues. Also in May 2019 the travel unit developed a report to identify all travel by employees by month, year-to-date, and fiscal year that is reviewed by executive management to ensure that travel costs are appropriate.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented

Agency Response From March 2019

State Hospitals stated that it has begun to implement this recommendation by ensuring that its travel unit staff are aware of the expectation and requirement to audit travel expense claims. Specifically, its travel manual guide was updated in February 2019 to include all current travel rules, and the updated manual has been posted and is available to all staff on State Hospitals' intranet. In addition, State Hospitals stated that the guide is included in its new employee orientation so employees are aware of State Hospitals travel guidelines. State Hospitals also has directed its travel unit staff to audit travel claims to ensure that all travel expenses are applicable and appropriate for the method of travel used by employees. If these staff identify potential issues, they should immediately elevate the issue to their direct supervisor, who will then elevate the issue to senior management or to executive management, as applicable, to resolve.

Further, State Hospitals stated that by April 30, 2019, its executive management would remind its deputy directors and individual hospital executive directors that the monthly report submitted to the director and chief deputy director must include an overview of their upcoming travel, and its executive management would issue an electronic communication to all employees reinforcing that travel conducted for state business must be conducted based on the rules defined in its travel manual guide.

Finally, State Hospitals reported that by May 31, 2019, it would train the travel unit staff to identify and recognize potential travel issues, and it would develop a process to run a report for all travel by employee and develop a top 10/top 20 or other relevant metric to monitor employees that have large travel costs to ensure that travel is conducted in the most cost effective or efficient manner.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending

All Recommendations in I2019-3