Department of Justice audits program
An audit of Brandeis' use of federal funding for its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence claimed that $608,646 of four separate cooperative agreements-awards similar to grants-totaling $3,826,950 and awarded from 2008 to 2011, were "unallowable" or "unsupported" expenses, according to spending guidelines established by the Office of Justice Programs.
The most recent award was due to end on March 31 of this year.
While the audit, conducted by the Office of Justice Programs and the Office of the Inspector General, concluded that while the PDMP Center of Excellence met its goals, it recommended that Brandeis "remedy" the entirety of the questioned costs. The report was unclear on the manner in which this should occur.
The Center of Excellence used the cooperative agreement funding to train and assist state agencies monitoring and tracking prescription drug data, establish a clearinghouse for PDMPs, and help to develop the Interstate Information Sharing Project, among other projects.
The Center of Excellence recently released a report on its findings, recommending that medical insurance companies utilize such data sharing services that the center helped to develop in order to track prescription drug use and potentially curb abuse.
A report on the audit detailing the Office of the Inspector General's methods and findings was released last Thursday, April 24.
The breakdown of the questioned expenditures includes $595,001 in unsupported consultant expenditures, over $60,000 in unallowable consultant fees, just under $24,000 in incorrectly charged costs and $7,301 for a subcontractor's staff members to attend a "pharmaceutical diversion summit" in Orlando, Fla. The report states that Brandeis did not approve the use of these funds, and that the summit was not in the original funding agreement.
This totals more than the final questioned amount of $608,646; however, the audit subtracted overlapping consultant costs from the total.
Brandeis disputed the findings in its official response to the OIG, signed by Assistant Provost for Research Administration Paul O'Keefe and Vice President of Financial Affairs and University Treasurer Christopher O'Brien. The University agreed only that $31,224 of the recommended total was unallowable or incorrectly charged, and therefore should be remedied.
This amount includes $23,923 that was charged to the wrong cooperative agreements and $7,301 spent on the Florida summit.
Out of 12 areas of compliance tested in the audit, seven were found to be weak or deficient. Specifically, the report lists "deficiencies in Brandeis' system of internal controls ... unsupported and unallowable expenditures ... inaccurate and late grant reporting ... inadequate contractor monitoring ... inadequate subrecipient monitoring ... noncompliance with special conditions, and ... deficiencies in inventory controls."
Michael Horowitz '84, the U.S. inspector general, recused himself from the audit due to his status as a Brandeis alumnus.
When the Justice reached out for comment, O'Keefe and O'Brien did not respond to messages left at their offices on Monday afternoon by the Justice. An assistant to O'Keefe stated that he would not be available until Wednesday. As well, John Eadie, director of the Center for Excellence, did not respond to a message left at his office Monday by the Justice.
The Office of General Counsel at the Philadelphia Regional Audit Office of the Inspector General's office did not return multiple calls requesting comment by press time.
The Justice was unable to learn the reason for the audit, or the frequency of such audits, due to a lack of response from the OIG.