September 19, 2005
Maine HHS Strengthens Financial Team
Augusta, Maine –The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has hired a veteran financial professional to serve as its first director of internal audit.
Thomas Heiss, formerly a management analyst with the Department’s Public Health unit, will begin his new responsibilities Sept. 26. Heiss has more than 25 years of professional audit, accounting, and management and information systems experience, both within government and with Bath Iron Works and Public Service Company of New Hampshire. Heiss is a Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Information Systems Auditor.
“This is another step forward in building a new Department with management and internal controls that match the organization’s substantial responsibilities,” said Jack Nicholas, Commissioner of Health and Human Services. “We are pleased to have a person with Tom’s skills and integrity leading in this role.”
In the past year, Nicholas has directed the reassignment of 24 finance and budget positions, centralizing skills in financial management and budgeting. In audit, Heiss will conduct ongoing reviews of financial processes and monitor appropriate documentation.
This first wave of financial management changes has improved outcomes. Questioned costs in the most recent single state audit reduced 41 percent. A Food Stamp error that had climbed above national norms is now back in line with federal expectations. In July, the federal Administration for Children and Families notified the Department that it had passed an audit of its child support enforcement program.
“When our new procedures have had time to take hold, results are better,” Nicholas said. “In some areas, we will need time for new procedures to make the full impact on what are complex funding streams, but our course toward a high-performing financial organization is set and we are moving along it steadily.”
The Department is responsible for delivering more than $3.5 billion in services through contracts with providers and state-provided services. The initiatives supported through the Department provide health insurance and prescription drug coverage through MaineCare, protect public health, provide community mental health services, support children and families and Maine seniors, and advance the social and economic independence of Maine people.