Audit: Philly Behavioral Health Entrepreneur’s Excessive Spending


Several Community Behavioral Health purchases violated the Philadelphia Code and sometimes did not follow its own internal procurement protocols. CBH entered into a consulting services contract which was awarded to an employee at the time. Three administrative contracts were awarded with old requests for proposals for the acquisition of services, without issuing a new request for proposals. The behavioral health department does not appear to have considered the award of any of these contracts, according to the audit.

“And when those rules aren’t followed, there’s really no excuse for it. By working for the city before you get elected, the rules are the rules, and it’s not that hard, honestly, to follow them, ”said Rhynhart. “We have to make sure there is more control so that this does not continue.”

The department said it had beefed up and addressed procurement issues, and although the comptroller’s office had not verified this, Rhynhart said it was a positive sign.

On several occasions, Community Behavioral Health has wrongly requested and received reimbursements from the Behavioral Health Department. Between 2014 and 2018, CBH submitted duplicate expenses totaling over $ 6.4 million for reimbursement. The funds were returned to the city, but the comptroller’s office argues that the review processes failed to identify duplicate invoices before reimbursement and to identify overpayments in a timely manner.

Between 2014 and 2017, CBH submitted refund requests for transactions that were canceled, totaling nearly $ 1.5 million. Almost $ 1.1 million of that amount had yet to be donated to the city’s HealthChoices Behavioral Health Fund as of March 2020.

“Every break in policy and procedure, every unnecessary expense, means resources are not being used in the most efficient way possible for our most vulnerable Philadelphians,” Rhynhart said. “And when you waste millions of dollars, it’s money that doesn’t go to people, to services, to therapy, to drug treatment.”

Several recommendations were made to address the various issues raised in the report. Rhynhart said internal controls need to be strengthened and the Department of Behavioral Health needs to have better oversight of community behavioral health. His office will follow up in about six months.

In its statement, CBH said several of the recommendations had already been implemented over the past five years, since the scope of the audit began.

“There are over 270 providers in this system which if there is no oversight, no responsibility of the city to ensure that all of this is done, then the risk of waste and fraud increases dramatically.” Rhynhart said.


Leave A Reply