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Audit: UAMS center had $29M deficit, used restricted funds

January 31, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A University of Arkansas medical center’s accounting practices created a $29 million deficit over eight years, according to an internal audit.

The interim audit of university’s Medical Sciences’ Myeloma Center was presented to the university system’s board of trustees Wednesday, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Chancellor Cam Patterson requested the audit last year to initiate the center’s integration with the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

The audit found that the center incorrectly used restricted funds for operating expenses, said Patterson. Unrestricted dollars have been used to address the issue, he said.

“We’ve taken this situation very seriously,” Patterson said. “It’s not something UAMS is proud of.”

Trustees have requested the audit team identify who was responsible for the financial issues.

Audits typically aren’t presented to the board until they’re complete, but the bulk of the work is finished, said Trustee Morril Harriman. A final version of the audit is expected in March.

Auditors are still examining the center’s clinical trials, grants and contract expenditures, said Jacob Flournoy, the university system’s chief audit executive.

Auditors have made five recommendations to fix the problem, including implementing more detail and documentation in journal entries, and having additional oversight from accounting staff, Flournoy said. One recommendation would change policy to allow Amanda George, the chief financial officer for UAMS Clinical Programs, to delegate some responsibilities.

A recent restructuring of the financial division combined two separate departments that oversaw the university’s clinical and campus divisions. The newly created division will likely help improve transparency, George said.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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