Transition Series:

Health and Human Services Issues

OCG-89-10TR: Published: Nov 1, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 1988.

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GAO summarized information on relating to the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) management of its various programs, focusing on health care costs, social security benefits, and implementation of welfare reform legislation.

GAO found that HHS needs to: (1) develop a planning process that would identify current priorities and programs, and provide staff with a better sense of policy and management preferences; (2) develop a more systematic approach to work-force planning to ensure that its staff is adequate and able to effectively operate its programs; (3) modernize its management support systems so that it can provide the necessary staff and funds to support its activities; and (4) restructure the role of the chief of staff to prevent organizational conflict among key departmental leaders. GAO also found that HHS needs to: (1) refine Medicare hospital prospective payment system, improve controls over payments for physician and related services, and develop a strategy for addressing long-term health care problems; (2) develop benchmarks for health care services and refine the methods used to compute Medicare payments for services provided; and (3) develop a strategy to efficiently and economically finance long-term health care. In addition, GAO found that HHS needs to: (1) preserve the financial health of the social security program to ensure further accumulation of sufficient fund reserves to handle fiscal contingencies; (2) issue personal earnings and benefit statements in order to enhance public confidence in and increase awareness of the social security trust funds; and (3) provide strong leadership to establish performance standards, encourage states to use proven collection techniques, and promote automated child support enforcement systems.

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