Los Angeles County to Audit Office of AIDS Programs and Policy Following Allegations of Director’s ‘Conflict of Interest’
Los Angeles County officials are set to audit the county's Office of AIDS Programs and Policy amid questions about how the organization distributed approximately $80 million in state and federal grants, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports (Rester, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 7/1). The county Board of Supervisors in March ordered the audit, which is expected to take place next week, after HIV/AIDS activists and county officials voiced concerns that office director Chuck Henry had a "conflict of interest" because he also heads the department's HIV commission and determines how federal and state money is spent. Richard Espinoza, health deputy for County Supervisor Don Knabe, said, "Our office has extreme concerns of what we're hearing from the community." In addition, county officials have alleged that they were denied reports, such as budgets, from the AIDS office. "If the board officers aren't getting information on a timely basis, something is definitely wrong," Espinoza continued, adding, "The information we get or don't get from the (Office of AIDS) next week will determine what we do next" (Associated Press, 7/1). Henry, who has headed the office for four years, said that the office's funds, by law, are distributed "according to need" and that he is "confident" that the funds are distributed "fairly" (Long Beach Press-Telegram, 7/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.