Domestic Policy Council (11 - 20 of 396 items)
Poorly Performing Nursing Homes: Special Focus Facilities Are Often Improving, but CMS's Program Could Be Strengthened
GAO-10-197: Published: Mar 19, 2010. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2010.
CMS established the Special Focus Facility (SFF) Program in 1998 to help address poor nursing home performance. States select a subset of homes as SFFs from a list of the 15 poorest performing homes in each state, but the program is limited to 136 homes nationwide because of resource constraints. CMS guidance directs states to survey SFFs twice as frequently as other homes and to propose more robu...
Social Security: Options to Protect Benefits for Vulnerable Groups When Addressing Program Solvency
GAO-10-101R: Published: Dec 7, 2009. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 2009.
For over 70 years, Social Security has been the foundation of retirement income for American workers and their families and has been instrumental in reducing poverty among the elderly. The Congressional Research Service estimates that if Social Security benefits did not exist, an estimated 44 percent of all elderly people would be poor today. Still, some people who receive Social Security retireme...
Elderly Voters: Information on Promising Practices Could Strengthen the Integrity of the Voting Process in Long-term Care Facilities
GAO-10-6: Published: Nov 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2009.
Voting is fundamental to the U.S. democratic system and federal law provides broad protections for people with disabilities, including older voters. Many long-term care facility residents, who often have physical or cognitive impairments, vote by absentee or early ballot. Concerns have been raised about the extent to which states and localities are helping the increasing number of facility residen...
401(k) Plans: Several Factors Can Diminish Retirement Savings, but Automatic Enrollment Shows Promise for Increasing Participation and Savings
GAO-10-153T: Published: Oct 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 2009.
Over the past 25 years, the number of defined benefit (DB) plans has declined while the number of defined contribution (DC) plans has increased. Today, DC plans are the dominant type of employer-sponsored retirement plans, with more than 49 million U.S. workers participating in them. 401(k) plans currently cover over 85 percent of active DC plan participants and are the fastest growing type of emp...
Retirement Savings: Automatic Enrollment Shows Promise for Some Workers, but Proposals to Broaden Retirement Savings for Other Workers Could Face Challenges
GAO-10-31: Published: Oct 23, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 2009.
Although employer-sponsored retirement plans can be an important component of income security after retirement, only about half of all workers participate in such plans. To foster greater participation among workers who have access to such plans, Congress included provisions that facilitate plan sponsors' adoption of automatic enrollment policies in the Pension Protection Act of 2006. To foster gr...
Nursing Homes: CMS's Special Focus Facility Methodology Should Better Target the Most Poorly Performing Homes, Which Tended to Be Chain Affiliated and For-Profit
GAO-09-689: Published: Aug 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2009.
In 1998, CMS established the Special Focus Facility (SFF) Program as one way to address poor performance by nursing homes. The SFF methodology assigns points to deficiencies cited on standard surveys and complaint investigations, and to revisits conducted to ensure that deficiencies have been corrected. CMS uses its methodology periodically to identify candidates for the program--nursing homes wit...
401(k) Plans: Policy Changes Could Reduce the Long-term Effects of Leakage on Workers' Retirement Savings
GAO-09-715: Published: Aug 28, 2009. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 2009.
Under federal regulations, 401(k) participants may tap into their accrued retirement savings before retirement under certain circumstances, including hardship. This "leakage" from 401(k) accounts can result in a permanent loss of retirement savings. GAO was asked to analyze (1) the incidence, amount, and relative significance of the different forms of 401(k) leakage; (2) how plans inform participa...
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Financial Challenges Highlight Need for Improved Governance and Management
GAO-09-702T: Published: May 20, 2009. Publicly Released: May 20, 2009.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insures the retirement future of nearly 44 million people in over 29,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. In July 2003, GAO designated PBGC's single-employer pension insurance program--its largest insurance program--as "high risk," including it on GAO's list of major programs that need urgent Congressional attention and agency action. Th...
Medicare and Medicaid Participating Facilities: CMS Needs to Reexamine Its Approach for Funding State Oversight of Health Care Facilities
GAO-09-64: Published: Feb 13, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2009.
Americans receive care from tens of thousands of health care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid. To ensure the quality of care, CMS contracts with states to conduct periodic surveys and complaint investigations. Federal spending on such activities totaled about $444 million in fiscal year 2007; states are expected to contribute their own funds both through the Medicaid program and a...
Medicare: Trends in Fees, Utilization, and Expenditures for Imaging Services before and after Implementation of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005
GAO-08-1102R: Published: Sep 26, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2008.
Rapid spending growth for Medicare Part B--which covers physician and other outpatient services--has heightened concerns about the long-range fiscal sustainability of Medicare. Medicare Part B expenditures are expected to increase over the next decade at an average annual rate of about 8 percent, which is faster than the projected 4.8 percent annual growth rate in the national economy over this ti...