Hanford site contract audit: Taxpayers possibly overcharged

<p><p>Associated Press</p></p><p><p>RICHLAND – An audit by the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General has found that the Hanford site’s occupational medicine contractor submitted inappropriate bills to the Department of Energy.</p></p><p><p>The Tri-City Herald <a href=”https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article256878702.html#storylink=mainstage%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%94card4″>reported</a> the audit found that DOE reimbursed contractor HPM Corp. for work without reasonable assurance that the costs met reimbursement requirements.</p></p><p><p>HPMC, based in Kennewick, has held contracts since 2012 to provide occupational medicine services at the nuclear reservation to ensure the health and safety of some 9,000 workers managing the site and cleaning up radioactive and hazardous chemical waste and contamination.</p></p><p><p>The Department of Energy already resolved $1.3 million of what the Office of the Inspector General deemed “misallocated costs” after ramping up oversight since 2016.</p></p><p><p>But in a sampling of records the audit found an additional $44,100 of inappropriately billed costs from 2013 to 2020 and said a review of the remaining billed costs should still be done.</p></p><p><p>HPMC made no comment on the audit report. Its current seven-year contract is valued at up to $152 million.</p></p><p><p>The Hanford site next to the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington was used from World War II through the Cold War to produce about two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.</p></p><p><p>The audit report also found that HPMC did not always follow federal requirements to determine the best value for taxpayers when it awarded subcontracts by seeking bids when possible.</p></p><p><p>The Office of Inspector General also recommended another look at existing policies and making sure oversight was sufficient.</p></p><p><p>DOE said it had already implemented some of the recommendations and will complete all actions recommended in the report by October 2022.</p></p>