(The Center Square) – A special investigation of the University of Iowa Health Care and Clinics’ Care Coordination Division found that more than $16,000 of gift cards were unaccounted for, State Auditor Rob Sand reported Tuesday.
University of Iowa officials requested the special investigation for the period of August 2012 through 2020 since they were concerned about financial transactions former Administrative Services Specialist Anna Hernandez processed, the news release said.
The investigation identified $16,115.00 of gift cards that were unaccounted for, $153.99 of improper disbursements, $377.66 of unsupported disbursements and $500.00 of undeposited collections.
The 222 gift cards unaccounted for include:
- $9,725.00 of VISA gift cards for the Aiming for a Cure Fund.
- $3,600.00 of VISA gift cards for the Adolescents and Young Adults Fund.
- $550.00 of Casey’s gas cards for the Cancer Consortium Fund
- $50.00 for a VISA gift card for the Loren Arp Fund.
- $40.00 of HyVee gift cards for the Miscellaneous General Fund.
The investigation also found $2,150.00 of VISA and HyVee gift cards that could not be identified to a specific fund.
The Care Coordination Division’s purpose is to reduce social, financial and medical barriers to help patients and families make the best use of health care resources. Staff purchase, maintain and administer donated gift cards and gift cards purchased with financial donations.
Hernandez started working for UIHC in July 2006 and, from the beginning of her employment, she was responsible for overseeing gift cards and donations to programs supporting patients.
When the division noted gift cards purchases, donations and issuing were increasing, it began a gift card reconciliation process in August 2020 as an additional control, the report said.
A staff member who reconciled gift cards on Aug. 21, 2020, found six $150.00 VISA gift cards and nine $50.00 VISA gift cards were missing from the Adolescents and Young Adults fund. The person reported the discrepancy to Hernandez and was instructed not to report it to the University’s Department of Public Safety, the report said.
The staff member in October 2020 found that Hernandez had removed $100.00 from a petty cash fund for a patient discharge but did not leave a receipt. Office staff reviewed paper gift card listings Hernandez maintained and found that records were missing. Hernandez was put on paid administrative leave Nov. 18, 2020. She resigned Nov. 30, 2020, and the state began its audit.
The report said university internal audit staff found an email that requested Hernandez send money to “rays paypal.” Hernandez accused her ex-boyfriend of getting access to her accounts and making improper payments after investigators found missing Visa gift cards.
Improper purchases on the university credit card assigned to Hernandez included a $3.99 English translation of the Quran shipped to Hernandez’s personal address and $50 in fuel purchased from a Lamoni gas station in January 2013. There was no supporting documentation available that showed approved travel for division staff near that vicinity that month, the report said. About $200 had been spent on yoga without sufficient supporting documentation, the report said.