A county audit has found that Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and the county Department of Health Services overpaid workers tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses, sick pay, disability pay and overtime, and need to do more to monitor over- and underpayments.
The audit, which began two years ago and was released last week, found $85,000 in overpayments:
* At least 15 employees were overpaid $18,500 in bonuses.
* Twenty-three absent employees were overpaid $9,500 in bonuses.
* Six employees were overpaid $20,000 in workers' compensation after they returned to work or became disabled.
* Ten salary overpayments were made totaling $16,000.
Auditors recommended that hospital and health-services officials improve how they monitor employee compensation and time cards.
In a written response to the audit, department officials said they accept the findings and recommendations and have corrected their mistakes, recovering overpayments, adjusting some employees' leave and repaying others.
"We've put a lot of protocols in place in order to ensure it does not happen again," said Greg Polk, an administrative deputy with the department.
Auditors are now reviewing the finances of all county hospitals, Polk said. An audit of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center released last year also revealed employee overpayment errors, including $2 million in bonus overpayments to nurses.
Polk said the problem is not widespread, however, and that after the Rancho audit, department officials created a bonus review unit to prevent errors.