CDC Misplaced $8.2M in Property, Audit Shows

John Commins, December 29, 2010

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention apparently can’t control and prevent losing or accounting for millions of dollars worth of its own property, a federal audit shows.

The audit by Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General identifies property accountability problems at CDC that were first identified by OIG in a 1995 audit but which apparently were not acted upon.

The new OIG audit found that the federal government’s top medical research laboratory either could not account for or had incorrectly processed about $8.2 million in government property, including a $36,828 microplate reader and a $31,866 microscope.

“CDC’s property system was neither accurate nor complete,” OIG says. “These inaccuracies occurred because CDC did not always adjust the property system to reflect the results of the annual physical inventory and did not barcode all newly acquired property for entry in the property system. Based on these continuing problems with property accountability, we concluded that CDC had not fully implemented the recommendations in our prior report to strengthen management controls over property.”

The audit notes that CDC’s Procurement and Grants Office is responsible for managing the approximately 49,837 items totally $350 million at CDC’s various sites in across the nation at the end of fiscal year 2007. OIG examined a sampling of 200 property items, ranging in value from $1 to more than $400,000. Of the 200 items, OIG could not locate 15, and based on that sampling, OIG estimated that CDC had lost or misplaced about $8.2 million in government property, effective Sept. 30, 2007.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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