Department of Health

Oversight of the Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust Fund

The Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust Fund was created to provide scientists, physicians, and other experts with grants for use in finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. The Trust Fund is financed by a surcharge on drivers who receive traffic tickets. From its inception in July 1998 through May 31, 2007, the Trust Fund received $63.9 million and disbursed $40.9 million. Grants are awarded by a special State Board within the Department of Health that was created to oversee the Trust Fund.

We audited grant disbursements and found they were supported by appropriate documentation. However, we found that adequate oversight had not been provided to ensure that grant objectives were being attained. For example, we determined that the grant recipients had submitted only 44 percent of their progress reports, 60 percent of their final reports, and none of their statistical/qualitative reports or seminar documentation that was required under the grants to demonstrate their performance. We also identified delays in the grant award process that were attributed, in part, to vacancies on the Board and quorum problems from low Board member attendance. We further determined that $13.5 million had been transferred from the Trust Fund to the State’s General Fund because some of the available funding had not been awarded by the Board.

For a complete copy of Report 2007-S-32 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.