BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County taxpayers may have been overcharged for a service during the pandemic by more than half a million dollars.
The Erie County comptrollers office, during a recent audit, discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on services through the company Buffalo Homecare, that just don’t add up.
The audit shows how the county was billed for the test-to-stay program at schools through Buffalo Homecare Inc. The program provided students and staff with COVID-19 testing and supplies during the pandemic.
Buffalo Homecare billed the county almost $2 million for those services between August 2021 and February 2022. But the audit states there are significant deficiencies and questioned costs, where more than half a million dollars aren’t accounted for properly for employee hours and mileage.
“I think taxpayers should be concerned that their hard earned money be well spent,” County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick said. “That we pay attention to details, and it’s obvious from this audit, that didn’t happen in every case.”
The audit recommends that Buffalo Homecare and the Department of Health work together to come to an agreement on how much the county should be billed — with proper paperwork. Hardwick said they are working with the health department and the county attorney’s office to strengthen procedures so this does not happen again.
It’s important to note that any funds recovered from Buffalo Homecare would still have to be used for COVID-19 related expenses.