About the Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit

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To promote good stewardship of public resources by helping grantees comply with their contracts and ensuring agency compliance with State and Federal requirements for fiscal monitoring of grantees. -FSO Mission Statement

Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit Yesterday

Prior to 2016, the Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit (formerly the Fiscal Monitoring Unit) was a part of the DSHS Contract Oversight and Support Section (COS). The FSO was formed to ensure compliance with State and Federal requirements for recipient and sub-recipient grants, as well as to provide technical assistance to grantees on financial topics. In 2016, the Sunset Commission made recommendations to the 84th Legislature to move some of the programs that were formerly administered by the Department of State Health Services to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. As a result, the FSO was split between HHSC and DSHS, according to the grants each agency administered.

The DSHS FSO is currently staffed with 16 full time employees. DSHS FSO participates in the DSHS Internship Program and has had numerous successful interns from various accredited colleges working towards a bachelor's or master's degree.

Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit Today

One month after the 2016 transformation, Ann H. Duncan started as the Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit Director for DSHS. In 2018, a reorganization was approved to establish a branch specifically for HIV grants to promote coordination with the related DSHS program areas. April Marek is the manager for this branch that monitors HIV, STD and Ryan White grants. David Lupercio is the FSO manager for all other DSHS grants.

TheIndependent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit performs on-site and desk reviews to ensure compliance with Federal and State grant fiscal requirements. The reviews generally include testing of amounts charged to DSHS grants for payroll, expenditures, and equipment purchases. Reviews may also include other grant specific requirements, such as matching, program income and limitations on specific expenditure types. An assessment of the grantee's financial management system is performed as part of the review process.

Annually, FSO completes a risk assessment of DSHS grantees to determine the monitoring schedule for the fiscal year. The risk assessment is based on five weighted components that determine the risk of a grantee. The risk factors are Single Audit results, prior fiscal review results, length of time since last monitoring, funding diversification, and size of award(s). Normally, a sample of transactions from one quarter is tested; however, the scope of the review may be expanded if systemic issues are identified. DSHS FSO reviews 50% of high risk grantees and 20% of low and medium risk grantees each fiscal year.

Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit Tomorrow

DSHS FSO is committed to providing grantees with the training, tools and support needed to achieve compliance. Training and technical assistance will decrease the number of review findings and promote a cooperative partnership with grantees. Focusing on this goal, the FSO is working to expand our Technical Assistance role.

In 2006, a technical assistance (TA) function was formed within the Independent Fiscal Support and Oversight Unit of the DSHS Contract Oversight and Support Section under the leadership of Robert Vitek. New Federal Uniform Grant Guidance went into effect in 2014, which increased the level of monitoring that pass-through entities are required to perform. Due to this change, resources were shifted to monitoring for compliance with the new guidelines and the level of technical assistance previously available was no longer possible.

In the last two years, DSHS FSO has reestablished TA as a priority. TA is provided through group training and one-on-one assistance to grantees. The FSO has provided trainings on unallowable costs as defined in the Federal Uniform Grant Guidance (UGG) and State of Texas Uniform Grant Management Standards (UGMS), Federal and State audit requirements, and trending problematic topics, such as program income and property inventory reporting. The TA Team within FSO is also responsible for follow up on Corrective Action Plans and Single Audit findings.

Last updated October 11, 2021