MARSHALL ISLANDS SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION EARNS AN A PLUS FROM AUDITORS

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 13, 2002 – Marshall Islands Journal)---Social Security issued its 2001 financial audit this week as officials said that the agency is almost to its goal of having no findings identified by auditors.

The most recent audit by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said that there were no instances of "non-compliance" that are required to be reported by government accounting standards.

Board vice chairman Jack Niedenthal said the agency received a "clean audit" that had just three "findings" identified by the auditors.

"Our goal for 2002 is to have no findings," he added.

It was a tremendous improvement over the 2000 audit, which had 16 findings of problem areas by the auditor.

The current MISSA board and administration took over in the middle of 2000 and brought the agency’s accounting up to date after no audits had been performed since 1997.

The 2001 audit identified three "reportable conditions" or problems requiring MISSA action:

§ receipts from MISSA’s Ebeye office were numbered by hand instead of being preprinted and sequentially numbered.

§ three bank accounts had unidentified deposits totaling $31,980 that should have had proper supporting documentation.

§ a total of $2.5 million in liabilities to health care providers was in dispute. Of this amount, $800,821 related to four off-island referral cases that exceeded MISSA’s contractual limit of $100,000 per patient; $337,852 related to off-island referral benefits for 177 Health Program patients; and $596,569 in vendor invoices for the hospital were not supported by evidence that the goods were received. The auditor recommended that MISSA resolve the disputed bills and insure that all vendor invoices showed evidence that the goods were received.

MISSA said it agreed with all the findings and was taking steps to implement the recommendations for action.

The audit noted that on April 11, 2002, the Nitijela changed the Health Fund Act to transfer administration of the Health Fund to the Ministry of Health.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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