ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – According to a report by the Maryland Legislative Audit Office, a report released Thursday by the Maryland Legislative Audit Office, an assessment of emergency procurement practices for supplies in Maryland during the COVID pandemic. -19 indicates “lack of compliance”.
The review found that 11 out of 15 emergency shopping packages totaling $189.4 million did not comply with all state regulations.
“For example, there are no formal written contracts for three of the packages, and the contracts for the remaining eight do not include all the key provisions required by procurement regulations. of the State,” Gregory Hook, legislative auditor, wrote in a letter to lawmakers recommending the review.
Hook writes that procurement agencies “are often unable to provide substantial documentation to support the basis of the purchase, including written explanations of how suppliers are identified and option.”
“We also concluded that seven emergency purchases with payments at the time of our review totaling $133.7 million were not effectively monitored,” Hook wrote. “For example, for four emergency procurement packages, we recorded payments totaling $25.5 million made where responsible agencies were unable to document that services were completed. receipt and payments are in accordance with the contract.”
The review represents an expansion of the previous one, following the request of state legislators.
Previous reviews showed that Governor Larry Hogan’s administration fails to comply with state procurement regulations when it bought 500,000 COVID-19 tests from a Korean company last year for a final price of about $12 million, after the first batch of tests then had to be replaced at an additional cost of 2.5 million dollars, because they were not authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Thursday’s report included a review of test results from labs that used the second LabGenomics test suite, which the evaluators could not access in time for their March 31 report. Auditors received an allegation of a fraud, waste and abuse hotline in September 2020 related to concerns about the accuracy of test results received for samples taken. at Towson University.
The review found that the majority of LabGenomics tests are used to analyze patient samples and that certain individuals who receive a positive test result will receive a negative result in subsequent tests. However, review cannot determine from available sources if inconsistent results occur due to deficiencies with LabGenomics tests or other factors.
Thursday’s report also includes the results of an emergency procurement and accountability review of medical supplies from Blue Flame Medical.
The Hogan administration has finally settled a multi-million dollar contract dispute with the company, after the state tried to cancel the contract because the company was too slow to deliver 12 worth of N95 masks and ventilators. ,5 million dollars. The deal attracted extra attention because the company’s founders were Republican political consultants and fundraisers and had never worked in medical supplies before the pandemic.
The auditor’s assessment found that masks and ventilators were not procured in accordance with state regulations.
“While the aforementioned purchase order includes the quantity to be purchased and the associated payment terms, it does not contain certain key provisions required by the House procurement regulations. countries, such as dispute resolution, delays and extensions, specification conformity and forwarding,” the report said.
In a response included in the review, the government said the state is trying to find scarce resources, especially in the early stages of the pandemic, with the core mission of preventing as many deaths as possible. and better hospital admission.
The Maryland Department of General Services said that “the entire State of Maryland government is being asked to rise up to meet the challenges posed by a worldwide health crisis, the likes of which have never been demonstrated before.” ants for more than a hundred years”.
“With supply chains completely at a standstill or collapsing, demand outstripping supply, and no contingency plans for these kinds of global events, the ‘as soon as possible’ part of regulation has certainly provided provide the rationale behind the strategies used to obtain these essential supplies and services,” the suite wrote.
The state health ministry said it was working to improve contract management, including setting up an Office for Contracts and Procurement “to build on the procurement lessons that emerged last year.” 2020”.
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