A report by state auditors paints a disturbing picture of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Among the 33 deficiencies listed in the recently released report — nearly double the number in the previous analysis, released in December 2012 — are two of special concern: that the Health Department failed to do complete background checks on child care providers and that some drugs ordered by the department weren't fully accounted for.
Those matters are too important for such slipshod management.
The document covers the period from July 2009, when Robert Galvin was DPH commissioner, to June 2011, when the present commissioner, Jewel Mullen, was in charge.
The auditors said there is no "documented evidence that the department verified [that] all new child-care employees had the required background checks." Even such important questions as whether an applicant had pending criminal charges were not answered.
Regarding drugs to treat tuberculosis or sexually transmitted diseases, DPH "does not monitor the amount of pharmaceuticals the health care providers actually have on hand," the report said. In some cases, new drugs were needlessly ordered when the on-hand supply was sufficient.
The health department, which received an advance copy of the report six months ago, says many of the concerns have been or are being corrected. Additional staff is being hired to perform complete checks of all applicants, and a system is in place to keep track of drugs.
A spokesman said DPH "takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the interests of the state and carry out its mission of protecting and promoting the health of Connecticut residents in an effective, efficient and responsible fashion." That's the right response.
But in 2012, the last time an auditors' report listed the department's deficiencies, 17 problem areas were identified. In this most recent assessment, nine of those were still unresolved.
Let us hope that the next analysis of DPH will find no more holdover issues.