Audit finds Whidbey General Hospital overpaid its staff $180K

State auditors are critical of the way Whidbey General Hospital officials handle the payroll system. In a report released Tuesday, auditors said hospital officials “did not have adequate controls over payroll process to safeguard public resources.” Because of this problem, Whidbey General Hospital made $183,211 in overpayments to hospital employees and staff accrued 22.73 hours in unearned time off, according to the report.

State auditors are critical of the way Whidbey General Hospital officials handle the payroll system.

In a report released Tuesday, auditors said hospital officials “did not have adequate controls over payroll process to safeguard public resources.”

Because of this problem, Whidbey General Hospital made $183,211 in overpayments to hospital employees and staff accrued 22.73 hours in unearned time off, according to the report.

Whidbey General Hospital officials were contacted for comment, but said they would not be able to provide comment as of press time Tuesday.

Whidbey General Hospital employs around 700 people and has a payroll expenditure of approximately $48 million. The audit covers Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 1, 2012.

Hourly employees are paid based on time cards supported by an employee badge, which is scanned into an automated system while salaried employees complete monthly time sheets that record and track paid time off. Employees and supervisors are expected to review and approve these records for accuracy, according to the report.

State auditors in the report noted several weaknesses when they review the district’s internal controls:

• A lack of segregation of duties within the departments of payroll and benefits.

 

• No comparison of paid time off was claimed in time

records to the amount earned before it is paid.

 

• Payroll manager manually enters leave accruals for staff with contracts that have collective bargaining agreements. There is no secondary review to ensure the entries are accurate.

• Supervisors don’t have adequate knowledge regarding use of the automated system and employee contracts.

“The district has not made it a priority to assess the risk associated with its payroll process,” the report states. “It also has not documented the required procedures for the process nor provided adequate training for the employees and supervisors. As a result, any intended controls are either unknown or not being followed.”

In addition to the overpayment of wages, auditors noted one employee received an additional five hours of pay because a supervisor edited the time sheet based on an incorrect understanding of a union contract. The error should’ve been caught during a review and both parties failed to approve the timesheet before processing, the report stated.

During a review of time sheets covering three pay periods, auditors said that 20 percent weren’t approved by the employee and 10 percent weren’t approved by the supervisor.

In response to the finding, hospital officials said they reviewed the recommendations and started implementing them as soon as possible. Those comments were included in the report.

 

More in News

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society President Laura Renninger, seen here with group mascot Garry, said she hopes Oak Harbor residents appreciate the city’s unique namesake trees this year.
City’s mayor proclaims 2021 as ‘Year of the Oak’

Members of the Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society hope residents will take advantage of a few opportunities to celebrate the city’s namesake tree.

Federal judge rejects injunction request against Navy Growlers

The decision wasn’t a surprise, and it doesn’t directly affect the underlying lawsuits by the state Attorney General’s Office and COER.

Schools look for more diversity in hiring teachers

Despite 41.9 percent of the Oak Harbor student population identifying as an ethnicity other than white, only 7.9 percent of teachers identified as an ethnicity other than white.

Teachers starting to receive COVID-19 vaccines

Gov. Inslee made the group immediately eligible along with those already in Phase 1B1 of the state’s vaccination program.

Hospital renovation moving forward

The $22.5 million project is on on track despite the district’s “cash poor” status and the pandemic.

Coupeville Middle School students are returning to campus, but not for class

Students in grades 6-8 will return to campus on March 8 in the afternoons for two days a week.

Camano man accused of murder appears in court

The man was accused of shooting two people, killing one, at a Camano Island home on Feb. 28.

House passes ban on certain police use-of-force tactics

Chokeholds are prohibited, car are chases limited and military equipment is not allowed.

Most Read