More than $17k in donations to Univ. of Iowa hospital patients missing, misused

Date:

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) – A special investigation into the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ Care Coordination Division found $17,146.65 in unaccounted for, or improperly used gift cards that were intended for hospital patients undergoing cancer and burn treatments.

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University of Iowa officials requested the investigation by State Auditor Rob Sand after finding discrepancies in the handling of donations by Anna Hernandez, the Division’s Administrative Services Specialist.

Hernandez was placed on paid administrative leave on November 18, 2020 due to the discrepancies, and she resigned on November 30, 2020.

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Sand’s investigation covered a period from August 1, 2012, through December 31, 2020. It found $16,115 in gift cards were unaccounted for, along with $153.99 of improper disbursements, $377.66 of unsupported disbursements and $500 of undeposited collections.

Sand’s report included the following unaccounted for gift cards:

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  • $9,725.00 of VISA gift cards for the Aiming for a Cure Fund,
  • $3,600.00 of VISA gift cards for the Adolescents and Young Adults Fund,
  • $550.00 of Casey’s gas cards for the Cancer Consortium Fund,
  • a $50.00 VISA gift card for the Loren Arp Fund,
  • $40.00 of HyVee gift cards for the Miscellaneous General Fund, and
  • $2,150.00 of VISA and HyVee gift cards that could not be identified to a specific fund.

The Care Coordination Division provides services to patients and their families, including purchasing, maintaining and administering gift cards donated by organizations or individuals.

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Sand reported that some of the gift cards went to the PayPal of a person named Ray Springer, who Hernandez said she didn’t know. According to the report, Hernandez blamed an ex-boyfriend, saying clearly her ex-boyfriend knew Springer. Sand’s report said an internal email contained a message in which someone requested $100 to “rays paypal.”

Sand’s report then listed at least 10 gift cards of varying amounts that went to Ray Springer’s PayPal for personal purposes.

Other purchases listed in the report include VISA gift card purchases from Hills Bank using the university’s eVoucher system and Hy-Vee gift cards bought using Hernandez’s university procurement card.

Sand said it’s not possible to determine if more gift cards were taken due to poor documentation. He recommended the university strengthen controls around gift cards, and segregate duties.

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