McGuiness’s National COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template Shapes Public Emergency Response Efforts Countrywide

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today the release of a special report titled “National COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template: Compare and Contrast.” This report reviewed auditor’s reports using the COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template and identified common issue areas that can improve state response efforts during future variants or public health crises.

“The COVID-19 Data Quality Template was developed as part of a bipartisan multistate effort to develop a consistent tool for states to assess their approach to data collection, reporting, and monitoring of coronavirus cases.” McGuiness said. “Many reports found issues affecting mortality data and identifying cause of death. Differences in methodology across the country contributed to decreased public trust in data quality. Increasing communication between states and government entities and sharing best practices is key to restoring public trust and combating this health crisis.”

Under Delaware Code 2909, the State Auditor may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information, and recommendations the State Auditor deems advisable and necessary.

“4 out of 5 reports noted major challenges due to information systems that were unprepared for the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some lacked clear guidance on what data should be collected, and others had antiquated systems that reduced the efficiency and accuracy of public health data collection efforts.” McGuiness said.

 

Upon release of the audit template, Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber stated, “Americans need access to relevant, accurate data that they can trust and understand as they make decisions that impact their families. By adding consistency to the data gathering process and implementing best practices from across the nation, we can help provide clarity and confidence in the COVID-19 statistics that are being shared. Americans must be able to trust the data, so they can trust the resulting policies.”

“I am thankful for the cooperation from Ohio, Louisiana, Iowa, and Washington D.C. and their ongoing work to provide insight for improving public health emergency response efforts. I would also like to thank the many auditor’s offices that are still actively working on reports using the data quality audit template. Working together, we can ensure transparency and efficiency in our response to this global health crisis,” McGuiness said.

The new special report, “COVID-19 Data Quality Audit Template: Compare and Contrast” can be found here.

 

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at https://auditor.delaware.gov.

 

 

 

 

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Contact:       
Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff
302-857-3931
Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


State Auditor Kathy McGuiness Releases Report Announcing Delaware Erases Rape Kit Backlog

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today the release of a special report titled “Delaware Erases Rape Kit Backlog.” This report reviewed the State of Delaware’s use of federal grant funds provided by the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) for implementing best practices to clear the backlog of untested rape kits.

“Every year there are 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault in the United States,” McGuiness said. “Unlike other proactive states in the region, Delaware has yet to address legislation mandating testing for all rape kits to eliminate the backlog from recurring and ensure justice is provided for survivors.”

Under Delaware Code 2909, the State Auditor may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information, and recommendations the State Auditor deems advisable and necessary.

“Sexual assault affects millions of individuals globally regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Acting now demonstrates that survivors matter and that those who break the law will be held accountable. It is key that policymakers develop a solution to prevent unnecessary delays and backlogs from forming,” McGuiness said.

“The Criminal Justice Council continues working with our partners to enhance the current testing policy to ensure the elimination of future backlogs of sexual assault kits,” Said Michael Kelly, Delaware SAKI Coordinator.

“I am thankful for the cooperation from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council and their ongoing work to address untested sexual assault kits in our state. Together, we can shine a spotlight on this issue and inspire a meaningful change that supports Delaware’s survivors and prevents future backlogs from accumulating,” McGuiness said.

The special report: Delaware Erases Rape Kit Backlog can be found on the Auditor’s Office’s website here.

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at https://auditor.delaware.gov.

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Contact:       

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff

302-857-3931

Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


McGuiness: Office Achieves Top Ranking on Federal Website Designed to Improve Government Transparency, Accountability

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness said today that her office recently achieved the No. 1 ranking for agencies that have uploaded reports to a website that seeks to improve transparency and accountability for federal, state and local agencies nationwide.

“Oversight.gov was developed by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency,” McGuiness explained. “The goal of the site is to improve public access to information and reports from federal, state and local agencies, including reports from all federal inspectors general.”

The Delaware State Auditor’s Office uploaded 144 reports to Oversight.gov to-date. With millions of views per year, the website has become a popular place for people to access a variety of government-produced reports.

In 2020, McGuiness’ office was the first agency that participated in Oversight.gov’s pilot initiative for state and local governments.

“The Delaware State Auditor’s Office achieved the number-one agency ranking in just two months,” said spokesperson Shiji Thomas of the National Science Foundation Office of the Inspectors General. “Kathy McGuiness and her team have set an example for other agencies to follow ever since the inception of Oversight.gov.”

 

“My team and I are honored to be recognized by Oversight.gov for our hard-work and consistency,” McGuiness stated. “We strongly value transparency and accountability in our office, and Oversight.gov allows us the opportunity to uphold these vales by sharing all of our reports for the public to read.”

To see the rankings on Oversight.gov, go to https://www.oversight.gov/state-local/reports.

About the Delaware State Auditor

The Delaware State Auditor serves Delawareans by providing independent objective oversight of the state government’s use of taxpayer dollars with the goal of deterring fraud, waste and abuse through unbiased assessments, including the use of various audits, special reports, and investigations of financial operations designed to ensure statutory compliance while enhancing governmental economy, efficiency and effectiveness. For more information, visit the website, and connect with the office on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or Instagram

 

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Contact:

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff

302-857-3931

Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


Auditor’s Office Achieves Highest Possible Ranking for National Peer Review  

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today that the Delaware State Auditor’s Office officially passed its national peer review on Friday.

 

“I am thrilled to report that our office received the highest possible ranking on our peer review,” McGuiness said. “This result is a testament to the professional standards that our talented team upholds to provide Delawareans with transparency, efficiency and accountability in state government.”

 

A peer review is an examination done every three years of the audit work performed by one state auditor’s office by auditing peers from other states. For Delaware’s peer review this time, auditors from New Jersey, Colorado and Texas examined how well the Auditor’s Office adheres to national professional auditing standards, as well as to its own policies and procedures governing how engagements are conducted.

 

The Delaware State’s Auditor’s Office is a member of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), which facilitates the peer review and coordinates the peer review team members. The goal of peer reviews is to monitor state Auditor’s Offices’ accounting and auditing practices to promote quality work.

 

“It’s so gratifying to receive acknowledgement from our peers of what I have always known: that our team excels at fulfilling our mission of looking out for Delawareans’ tax dollars,” McGuiness said. “I appreciate the peer reviewers’ diligence, and I thank NASACT for providing the opportunity for an objective professional assessment of our office.”

 

The new peer review can be found on the Auditor’s Office website here.

 

 

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Contact:       

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff 

302-857-3931, Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov


McGuiness Office Granted Permission to Obtain Outside Counsel in Subpoena Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 10, 2022

 

McGuiness Office Granted Permission to Obtain Outside Counsel in Subpoena Case with DHSS over Requested Medicaid Records
Gov. Carney acknowledges DOJ’s conflict of interest in the case

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness said today the State Auditor’s Office was granted permission by Gov. John Carney to hire outside counsel in its ongoing subpoena case with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) over access to Medicaid eligibility records for an audit.

Kathy McGuiness State Auditor“Thank you to Governor Carney for understanding that having the Department of Justice represent both my office and DHSS in this case was an inherent conflict of interest,” McGuiness said. “Since August, I have had to represent myself and my office in New Castle County Superior Court because the DOJ refused to recognize the subpoena power granted to me in Delaware Code.”

McGuiness and her audit staff have been trying since May to obtain the necessary documents to complete a performance audit of DHSS’ Medicaid eligibility programs for three years. When DHSS refused to comply with the data requests, McGuiness exercised the subpoena power granted to her under Delaware Code Title 29 Chapter 29 Section 2910 to attempt to obtain the records and access her team needs.

McGuiness highlighted the need for outside counsel earlier in the week during the office’s fiscal year 2023 budget hearing before the Joint Finance Committee.

“Delaware Code says specifically that the Auditor ‘shall conduct postaudits of all the financial transactions of all state agencies,’” McGuiness said. “Medicaid spends about $2 billion per year in federal and state tax money – and we want to ensure that DHSS is adequately determining who is eligible to receive those benefits.”

McGuiness pointed out that the annual statewide Single Audit has had repeat findings related to Medicaid eligibility for at least three years. The Single Audit looks at a small sample of Medicaid beneficiaries but is an accurate way to determine if larger, systemic problems could exist.

“Based on the repeated Single Audit findings, as well as other risk-assessment factors, I know that a performance audit of Medicaid eligibility will be beneficial for DHSS,”

McGuiness said. “But instead of complying with my data and access requests, DHSS has chosen to fight over this in court.”

Under Title 29 Chapter 25 Section 2507, state agencies that are represented by the DOJ can request permission to obtain outside counsel from the DOJ and the governor, which is what McGuiness did. The DOJ told McGuiness last month that it would agree with the governor’s office’s decision.

“This is a great day for Delawareans,” McGuiness said. “I fight every day for the state’s taxpayers, and this is an example of a wrong that has been righted. I am grateful to Gov. John Carney and his team for their insight and wisdom in this case.”

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Contact:
Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff
302-857-3931
Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov