CENTRO tangled in MassHealth audit finding $300k in illegitimate payments, other violations

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Citing “systemic problems” in the payment process governing the state’s largest program, state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump released an audit Tuesday, Sept. 6, showing more than $300,000 in inappropriate payments for adult foster care services.


Courtesy QCC

Juan Gomez, CEO of CENTRO

The payments, made by MassHealth to the Worcester-based human services provider CENTRO (formerly Centro Las Americas Inc.), covered services that clients received through the home health program or other providers, according to the audit that examined CENTRO’s activities from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015.

Read the audit (23 pages) here.

“The payments for duplicative services to Centro Las Americas are concerning, but more concerning are the patterns of systemic problems in the payment process at MassHealth,” Bump said in a statement. “This audit shows that once again, MassHealth is not only ignoring their own regulations, but also directing providers to disregard them as well. These regulations ensure transparency and accountability on how public dollars are spent, and cannot be ignored in favor of rule-making by email outside of the public view.”

Centro JPEG

Juan A. Gomez, president and CEO of CENTRO, is a one-time Worcester city councilor who after narrowly losing election to City Council in 2015 initially asked for a citywide recount and insinuated a litany of irregularities perpetrated by the city in the election process.

The audit recommends repayment of $57,341 in unallowable expenses. In addition, “Centro should amend its policies and procedures to ensure that all nonreimbursable expenses are properly identified and reported in its Uniform Financial Statements and Independent Auditor’s Reports and that no state funds are used to pay for these expenses. Centro’s management should establish monitoring procedures to ensure that this activity is performed effectively.”

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