Department of Corrections Squandered $3.7 Million Per Year, Auditor Finds

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation “has poorly administered the Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolees Program” and “could have saved nearly $3.7 million per year had it helped private providers bill Medi-Cal for eligible services for program participants,” the state auditor reported August 20.

The auditor said its review of the program found numerous additional problems, including:

The department’s oversight of the program was “inadequate.” For example, the department “performed little of the oversight its contracts with providers specified, such as status meetings, on-site reviews, and periodic reporting.”

The department “paid housing invoices for parolee housing without verifying their accuracy or pre-approving rents in excess of allowed amounts.”

The department “failed to adequately document the eligibility of individuals it referred to the program, leaving in question whether the program serves the individuals intended.” Because the department “lacks comprehensive, consistent data on program participation and services, … it cannot show whether the program meets the Legislature’s goals.”

The auditor noted that the program will be phased out in December because the program’s funding was cut from the new state budget. This means current participants and future parolees with mental illness who are homeless will need to rely on county mental health and other programs, but the auditor warned that “the availability and supply of county programs to replace critical services the integrated services program currently offers, such as housing, is also in question.”

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