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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of the Attorney General
Accounts Receivable Collections


Issued: March 13, 2013
Link to full audit report 2011-S-25
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether the Office of the Attorney General effectively collects delinquent accounts receivable that are referred by state agencies. Our audit period was April 1, 2008 through October 20, 2011.

Background
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) includes the Civil Recoveries Bureau (Bureau). The Bureau is responsible for collecting accounts receivable that state agencies have been unable to collect and have referred to the OAG. During the period April 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010, state agencies sent 156,072 accounts receivable collection cases totaling $926.8 million to the Bureau for action. During this period, the Bureau collected $381.6 million and wrote off 43,487 uncollectible cases totaling $155.3 million.

Key Findings

  • Overall, the Bureau was generally effective in its collection of accounts receivable referred by state agencies. However, there are improvement opportunities.
  • From a sample of 194 collection cases totaling $22.2 million, we noted 69 cases (35.6 percent) where the Bureau's actions were delayed by as much as a year or where cases were on hand from one to three years without any actions taken. The Bureau indicates that staff reductions in recent years contribute to processing delays.
  • Also, there were 909 hospital accounts receivable cases totaling $2.3 million that remained closed when they should have been reopened and reassigned because new charges were incurred on the accounts.
  • The Bureau needed to enhance its collection actions through computer matches with State and City payrolls to locate debtors.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all accounts receivable collection cases referred by state agencies are promptly assigned.
  • Continue to assess staffing needs and, accordingly, make budget request where appropriate.
  • Assess other potential practices to improve collection related operations.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Department of Health: Collections of Medicaid Accounts Receivable (2009-S-59)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone:(212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236