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DHHS Invites Legislative Audit

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is inviting lawmakers to conduct their own review of a program that State Auditor Mike Foley says was mismanaged.

 Department CEO Kerry Winterer said Thursday he welcomes a review by the Legislature's Performance Audit Committee, saying its work was "professional, thorough and fair."

 His comments came after Foley criticized the department's handling of the federal Low Income Home Emergency Assistance Program.

 Foley says the state will relinquish $5.8 million in federal funds that could have benefited Nebraskans because department officials didn't understand how the program works. Foley recommended that the Performance Audit Committee investigate.

 Winterer says the issues noted in the audit involved internal communication and controls, not a lack of understanding. He says the problems have been reviewed and corrected.