Audit: Worcester Company Used MassHealth Cash on Golf, Trips to Puerto Rico

Suzanne Bump's office found more than $300,000 in 'inappropriate' payments.

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State Auditor Suzanne Bump. Courtesy Photo

A Worcester human services provider spent thousands in state funding on golf, meals, and two trips to Puerto Rico, State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s latest investigation into waste at MassHealth found.

The state’s Medicaid program made more than $300,000 in “inappropriate” payments to Centro Las Americas for adult foster care services.

The audit, which examined Centro’s activities between 2013 and 2015, found that Centro had spent $57,341 in state funds on golf outings, gifts, meals, and two trips to Puerto Rico, to explore the feasibility of developing a Puerto Rican coffee resale business.

“The payments for duplicative services to Centro Las Americas are concerning, but more concerning are the patterns of systemic problems in the payment process at MassHealth,” Bump said in a statement. “This audit shows that once again, MassHealth is not only ignoring their own regulations, but also directing providers to disregard them as well. These regulations ensure transparency and accountability on how public dollars are spent, and cannot be ignored in favor of rule-making by email outside of the public view.”

MassHealth said it’s reviewing Bump’s audit closely. “While some of the payments did not occur under the current administration, MassHealth will take action to recover any inappropriate payments and strengthen our systems,” spokesperson Michelle Hillman said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Bump’s office has taken a close look at MassHealth. A July audit found $15 million in inappropriate payments for adult foster care services explicitly excluded in its own guidelines across a five-year span, made possible by a loophole. In April, Bump found that MassHealth had made nearly half a million dollars in payments to doctors prohibited by the federal government from participating in the program.