LINCOLN, Neb. — State auditors have found more than $13 million in uncashed checks piling up at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The Omaha World-Herald reported ( ) the 192 checks were all related to the Medicaid drug rebate program. The issue was discovered after state auditors checked quarterly reports for the Medicaid Program. A report from State Auditor Charlie Janssen’s office stated the majority of the checks were two to three months old.

Under Nebraska law checks $500 or more must be deposited into the treasury of state within three business days of receipt and checks under $500 must be deposited within seven business days.

Some of the checks had been recorded by the agency but never deposited. They were found in a small safe under an employee’s desk.

The state Auditor’s office called the uncashed checks a significant management problem.

“Due to the significance of the dollars and risks involved, the agency needs to take immediate action to remedy the situation,” the report said

Health and Human services officials said it is difficult to deposit checks within the time frame set out by state law due to the complicated process used to reconcile the checks against state records.

Those officials also said staffing issues in the spring made it hard to research the backlog of checks before depositing them.

One HHS accountant retired in April and a second one took medical leave in June. Officials said that left the department without an accountant familiar with the drug rebate program.

Information from: Omaha World-Herald,