A former administrative specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) is accused of being behind thousands of dollars in "unaccounted for, improperly used, unsupported or missing donations and gifts meant for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics patients and families", according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

State auditor Rob Sand released a report on a discrepancy of $17,146.65 in funds that were meant to be used for donations, gift cards, and other purchases for patients and their families and found evidence that 41-year-old Anna Marie Hernandez was behind the mishandling. What's even worse is the stolen funds that were reportedly taken were to be used for items for several cancer patients. An investigation is now underway.

According to the Gazette, Hernandez was a staffer with the UIHC Care Coordination Division. A press release from Sand's office states that his investigation was requested by University of Iowa officials as a result of "certain financial transactions" processed by Hernandez.

Sand's report identified the following during the period of August 1, 2012-December 31, 2020.

  • $16,115.00 of gift cards that were unaccounted for
  • $153.99 of improper disbursements (unauthorized petty cash processed by Hernandez plus improper purchases made by Hernandez)
  • $377.66 of unsupported disbursements (purchases on the University procurement card assigned to Ms. Hernadez for which sufficient documentation was not available to determine the propriety of the purchases.)
  • $500.00 of undeposited collections (deposits that were simply not able to be traced to deposit records in the university's system).

As a result of these discoveries, Sand recommended a number of steps the Care Coordination Division should take, including "segregation of duties", performing independent third-party inventory counts of gift cards, and "ensuring proper documentation is maintained for the administration of funds handled by the Division," according to the release.

JP Valery, Unsplash
JP Valery, Unsplash

As for Hernandez, she pleaded guilty to first-degree theft on Aug. 5, 2021, and received a three-year deferred judgment involving self-supervised probation. She also had to pay a civil penalty and damages to the owner’s association.

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