Report Summary

Title: Review of Alleged Irregular Use of Purchase Cards by VHA’s Engineering Service at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia
Report Number: 15-01217-249
Issue Date: 6/27/2017
City/State: Dublin, GA
VA Office: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Office of Acquisitions, Logistics, and Construction (OALC)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audits, Reviews & Evaluations
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: The Office of Inspector General conducted this review in response to allegations that Dublin VA Medical Center (VAMC) purchase cardholders split purchases and made duplicate payments to Ryland Contracting Incorporated and Sterilizer Technical Specialists. We substantiated the allegation that VAMC Dublin cardholders in Engineering Service made unauthorized commitments by splitting purchases and exceeding micro purchase limits. Of 130 sampled purchases made from October 2012 through March 2015, 23 were split purchases that avoided the $3,000 limit for supplies and 14 were purchases that exceeded the $2,500 limit for services.
This was not prevented because approving officials did not adequately monitor cardholders to ensure compliance with VA policy. As a result, of 5,100 purchase card transactions totaling about $7.1 million, we estimated about 100 transactions totaling about $240,000 (3.4 percent) were unauthorized commitments and improper payments. We did not substantiate the allegation that cardholders made duplicate payments to Ryland Contracting Incorporated and Sterilizer Technical Specialists. However, we found cardholders inappropriately made 91 micro purchases for services received from these vendors without establishing contracts. This was not prevented because approving officials did not adequately review cardholder transactions to identify service purchases exceeding Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) $5,000 threshold for establishing contracts during a fiscal year. As a result, cardholders purchased and received services totaling about $218,000 that avoided Federal competition requirements.
We recommended the Veterans Integrated Service Network 7 Director review transactions for unauthorized commitments, submit ratification requests, emphasize the importance of monitoring cardholders, provide training, and ensure approving officials do not exceed the limit of assigned cardholders. In addition, we recommended the Director ensure contracts are established in accordance with VHA policy and take appropriate administrative action for each cardholder who made unauthorized commitments.