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Iowa State Auditor joining bi-partisan effort to monitor, compare COVID-19 response strategies

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) -- States and local governments received $150 billion through the Coronavirus Relief Fund alone to aid in their response efforts.

Each state's COVID-19 response plan has been different and of course, the response to the virus is unlike anything done before.

This week 15 state auditors announced a project to better understand what is working and what has not in their areas.

Among them is Iowa State Auditor, Rob Sand, who said he is excited to work on the bi-partisan project to look at how each state has reported and monitored COVID-19 to better guide public health actions in the future.

That's why Sand said the group of auditors believe it's important to take a closer look at how federal and state dollars have been spent and what has been effective.

"We can look at different practices and we can say okay that was one idea over there seemed like a reasonable idea but didn't turn out so great whereas this idea also seemed reasonable turned out better. And maybe we can apply those lessons to the future," said Sand.

Sand said the audits are going to focus on testing and treatment efforts, while looking into the data itself and how reliable and accurate it's been.

Iowa also received $1.25 billion from the CARES Act to help pay for pandemic related expenses. Sand along with other state auditors want to ensure that was money wisely spent.

"There's another big issue here, accountability. It's always important, it might be even more important in the middle of a pandemic than any other time. The decisions that are getting made now affect life and death. There's huge amounts of government funds that are being expended to try to combat the pandemic. So now more than ever is when we need people digging in on integrity, accountability, and oversight." said Sand.

Sand and his office already conducted an initial audit of the Test Iowa system. Click here to read our coverage of that report.

Five states, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida, Mississippi, and Ohio, worked together to create an audit framework for all participating states to follow.

The questions were designed "so that apples-to-apples comparison among states can be made" after the reviews are completed, according to a release.

Sand said he is glad this is a bi-partisan effort and added this is the time the parties need to come together to combat the virus and serve the people.

Participating states will begin work on the project by the fall and each state will release results when completed.

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Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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