Inspectors General:

Compliance With Professional Standards by the HHS Inspector General

AFMD-88-36: Published: Sep 29, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1988.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) compliance with professional standards.

GAO found that: (1) OIG did not have sufficient evidence to fully support all the findings and conclusions in 6 of 18 audit reports; (2) six audits did not have recommendations that followed logically from the facts presented; (3) seven audits failed to accurately reflect the audits' objectives; (4) the OIG quality assurance program did not always adhere to prescribed audit standards, policies, and procedures; and (5) eight audits did not adequately show the underlying causes of identified problems. GAO also found that: (1) data in the investigation management information system were not always reliable; (2) the OIG hotline staff took an average of 34 days to screen and forward allegations of waste, mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; (3) OIG did not know the disposition of over 83 percent of the hotline cases; (4) the inspection function's standards and procedures manual did not contain specific standards on supervisors' duties and responsibilities; (5) the inspection function did not retain supporting documentation for all of its report statements; (6) the inspection function did not fully implement the procedures for its quality assurance program; and (7) there was satisfactory support for 92 percent of the $6.63 billion in reported OIG monetary accomplishments.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG has implemented an extensive tracking system that will track allegations through resolution and record final status, number of convictions, amounts of administrative penalties, etc. OIG is confident the system will ensure compliance with the screening allegation standard.

    Recommendation: The Inspector General should evaluate whether the information management system will ensure compliance with the screening allegation standard and OIG policies and procedures or he should develop an alternative approach that will.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Inspector General

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The reporting requirement in the OIG manual for inspections has been revised to require that the scope of each quality assurance review be clearly delineated and that all identified weaknesses be fully discussed.

    Recommendation: To help ensure an effective quality assurance program in the inspection function, the Inspector General should require all quality assurance reports to clearly state the scope of each review and include a statement that all identified weaknesses are discussed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Inspector General

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 1989, the new AIG for inspections visited every regional office and verified that all previous quality assurance recommendations had been implemented. For fiscal year 1990, the OIG manual has been revised to require quality assurance reviews to verify that prior recommendations have been implemented.

    Recommendation: The Inspector General should require formal procedures to be developed for following up on quality assurance report recommendations to ensure that corrective action has been taken.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Inspector General

 

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