According to a 2015 decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Delta Health Alliance — a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that receives most of its money from taxpayers in the form of federal and state grants — had to pay back $1 million out of more than $34 million in grants for healthcare and educational programs in the impoverished Delta region.
According to the organization’s 2017 audit, the organization will pay back the $1 million over a period of 10 years, interest free, with payments of $100,000 paid annually in a deal it reached with the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in 2017.
Some of these costs disallowed in the HHS decision included new furniture for the DHA’s offices in Ridgeland and costs related to a gala at the B.B. King Museum to celebrate the one-year anniversary of one of the programs covered under the grant.
The Health Resources and Services Administration, which is an agency of the HHS, determined that the alliance spent more than $1 million on disallowable items in 2014. The DHA appealed the determination before the Departmental Appeals Board, which issued the final decision on March 12, 2015.
When a federal agency supplies a grant, the money comes with restrictions on how it could be spent. The U.S. HHS disallowed some of the spending by the DHA from 2009 to 2011 under the grant. Some of these included:
According to the audit, 70.84 of the DHA’s 33.12 percent of the DHA’s funding in 2017 came from the U.S. Department of Education and 37.72 percent came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The organization has received $10.6 million over the past four years from state taxpayers for a technology-based program to help providers reduce preterm births and conditions that can lead to type II diabetes among the Medicaid population in a 10-county area in the Delta.
The legislature appropriated $4,161,095 in the recent session for the project in Medicaid Division’s appropriation bill that was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant and goes into effect on July 1.