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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Data integrity"

    102 publications with a total of 299 open recommendations including 34 priority recommendations
    Director: Carol Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    14 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes and implements specific time frames for determining key strategic implementation details, including how the program will transition from the current state to the final TIM state. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes a schedule that provides planned completion dates based on realistic estimates of how long it will take to deliver capabilities. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes new time frames for implementing the actions identified in the organizational change management strategy and effectively executes against these time frames. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office defines and documents the roles and responsibilities among product owners, the solution team, and any other relevant stakeholders for prioritizing and approving Agile software development work. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes specific prioritization levels for current and future features and user stories. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office implements automated Agile management testing and deployment tools, as soon as possible. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office updates the Systems Engineering Life Cycle Tailoring Plan to reflect the current governance framework and milestone review processes. (Recommendation 7)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes thresholds or targets for acceptable performance-levels. (Recommendation 8)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office begins collecting and reporting on Agile-related cost metrics. (Recommendation 9)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office ensures that program velocity is measured and reported consistently. (Recommendation 10)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office ensures that unit test coverage for software releases is measured and reported accurately. (Recommendation 11)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that appropriate DHS leadership reaches consensus on needed oversight and governance changes related to the frequency of reviewing Agile programs, and then documents and implements associated changes. (Recommendation 12)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that the Office of the Chief Technology Officer completes guidance for Agile programs to use for collecting and reporting on performance metrics. (Recommendation 13)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that DHS-level oversight bodies review key Agile performance and cost metrics for the TIM program and use them to inform management oversight decisions. (Recommendation 14)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to systematically review data on municipal and industrial water storage agreements stored within the OMBIL system and correct errors, as appropriate, to ensure that the data are accurate and complete.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop policy and implementing guidance directing staff to conduct systematic reviews of M&I water storage agreement data in OMBIL.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to collect and analyze data on the length of time it takes to complete the reallocation process.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To effectively manage its information security program, the Chairman of the SEC should maintain up-to-date network diagrams and asset inventories in the system security plans for General Support System and a key financial system to accurately and completely reflect the current operating environment.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To effectively manage its information security program, the Chairman of the SEC should perform continuous monitoring using automated configuration and vulnerability scanning on the operating systems, databases, and network devices.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use the Bureau's evaluations before 2020 to determine the implications of in-office address canvassing on the cost and quality of address canvassing, and use this information to justify decisions related to its re-engineered address canvassing approach.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Early in the next decennial cycle, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to plan and execute more flexible, and perhaps smaller, address canvassing test and evaluation activity needed to support key design decisions having significant effect on the cost and quality of the census.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use productivity measures that track the progress in completing in-office address canvassing workload and the effectiveness of in-office address canvassing in reducing fieldwork in order to make informed decisions on allocating resources to current and future address canvassing workload so that the operation is completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    15 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to annually report improper payment estimates and error rates for the advance PTC program.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that in FY 2016, it completed a risk assessment of the advance PTC program and reported results in the FY 2016 Agency Financial Report. Currently, HHS is unable to specify the year the rate and amount will be reported due to the complexity and timing of the error rate measurement methodology process, which involves conducting pilot testing, using those pilots to refine the methodology, and then undergoing the rulemaking process before implementing the methodology to ensure accurate and efficient reporting of an improper payment rate.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, and until annual reporting of improper payment estimates and error rates for the advance PTC program is performed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to disclose significant matters relating to the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA) estimation, compliance, and reporting objectives for the advance PTC program in the agency financial report, including CMS's progress and timeline for expediting the achievement of those objectives and the basis for any delays in meeting IPIA requirements.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that it reported information on the status of the advance PTC risk assessment in the FY 2014 to FY 2016 Agency Financial Reports. Now that the program's improper payment risk assessment is completed, HHS will continue to report on its progress in designing and implementing an improper payment estimate for the advance PTC program in future Agency Financial Reports.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to design and implement procedures for verifying the identities of phone and mail applicants to reasonably assure that ineligible individuals are not enrolled in qualified health plans in the marketplaces or provided advance PTC.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. However, regarding verification of filer identity, HHS stated that for individuals starting a new application via phone, the call center representatives use verbal attestations for identity verifications from individuals. HHS stated that for paper applications, individuals must provide names and complete addresses as well as other information. In addition, HHS stated that individuals must attest that the information they provide on all applications is accurate by signing under penalty of perjury. GAO continues to believe that because CMS does not validate the identities of individuals who apply by phone or mail, CMS is vulnerable to enrolling ineligible individuals in qualified health plans with advance PTC.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to assess and document the feasibility and availability of obtaining sufficiently reliable data to verify individuals' residencies and lack of minimum essential coverage from nonfederal employers and, if appropriate, design and implement procedures for using such data in its verification processes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that its previous assessments of available electronic data sources did not identify any comprehensive national data source for verifying residency. HHS recently conducted a study to assess the feasibility of developing an employer-sponsored coverage database and determined that development would be costly and highly burdensome given available resources. Additionally, HHS stated that it would impose extra burden on employers to collect the information needed to build a comprehensive employer-sponsored coverage database. HHS will continue to assess and document whether any sufficiently reliable data sources exist and examine the feasibility of implementation.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to design and implement procedures for sending notices to nonfederal employers routinely and terminating advance PTC for individuals who have access to minimum essential coverage from their employers.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. However, regarding sending notices to nonfederal employers, HHS stated that it is evaluating its 2016 employer notice program to determine the best approach for notifying employers in the future. Such an evaluation may provide useful information; however, GAO continues to believe that designing and implementing procedures for sending notices to nonfederal employers and terminating advance PTC to individuals with access to employer-sponsored coverage can reduce the risk of providing advance PTC to issuers on behalf of ineligible individuals.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to assess and document the feasibility of approaches for (1) identifying duplicate government-sponsored coverage for individuals receiving Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program coverage in federally facilitated marketplace states outside of the states where they attest to residing and (2) periodically verifying individuals' continued eligibility by working with other government agencies to identify changes in life circumstances that affect advance PTC9 eligibility--such as commencement of duplicate coverage or deaths-- that may occur during the plan year and, if appropriate, design and implement these verification processes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that its preliminary analysis indicates that identifying government sponsored coverage for individuals receiving Medicaid and CHIP in Federally-facilitated Exchange states outside of the state where the applicant is enrolled in coverage would add several months to the time needed to execute the process of identifying duplicate enrollees and ending their advance PTC. Such additional time would significantly reduce the timeliness and effectiveness of the process and lead to an increase in burden on the state Medicaid systems used to verify duplicate coverage. HHS stated that it will continue this analysis and document the feasibility of approaches for identifying duplicate government sponsored coverage for individuals receiving Medicaid and CHIP coverage in Federally-facilitated Exchange states outside the application state of the consumer as well as periodically verifying individual's continued eligibility. In addition, HHS stated that it has implemented a Periodic Data Matching process to proactively identify consumers who may be receiving Minimum Essential Coverage through Medicare, and thus are no longer eligible for financial assistance to help pay for Exchange coverage. HHS is also exploring approaches to identifying Exchange enrollees who may be deceased and should thus be disenrolled from coverage.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to assess and document the feasibility of approaches for terminating advance PTC on a timelier basis and, as appropriate, design and implement procedures for improving the timeliness of terminations.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that it continues to assess the feasibility of terminating advance PTC at various times of the month as a result of consumers not resolving inconsistencies. HHS currently terminates advance PTC between the 1st and 15th of the month following the end of the inconsistency clock in order to accommodate issuer processes. HHS stated that processing in these cohorts also allows for operational and quality efficiencies for HHS since processes can be completed in batches.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to design and implement procedures for verifying compliance with applicable tax filing requirements--including the filing of the federal tax return and the Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit--necessary for individuals to continue to be eligible for advance PTC.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that the IRS provides information to Exchanges on consumers who received advance PTC in the prior coverage year but have not taken the necessary steps to file a tax return and reconcile advance PTC. Beginning in Open Enrollment for 2018, the Federally-facilitated Exchange will end advance PTC on behalf of the tax filers who have not filed or have not reconciled advance PTC when that information is reported to the Exchange by IRS.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to design and implement procedures for verifying major life changes using documentation submitted by applicants enrolling during special enrollment periods.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that it is continually monitoring the operations of the Exchange and has taken several steps to analyze and strengthen current rules and procedures to ensure that only those who are eligible enroll through special enrollment periods. While special enrollment periods provide a criticial pathway to coverage for qualified individuals who experience qualifying events, it's equally important that special enrollment periods are not misused or abused. HHS also stated that in April 2017, it issued a final rule on Market Stabilization that promotes program integrity by requiring individuals to submit supporting documentation for special enrollment periods and ensures that only those who are eligible are able to enroll. It will encourage individuals to stay enrolled in coverage all year, reducing gaps in coverage and resulting in fewer individual mandate penalties and help to lower premiums. This process will begin in June 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve annual reporting on PTC improper payments, control activities related to eligibility determinations, and calculations of advance PTC, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to design and implement procedures for verifying with IRS (1) household incomes, when attested income amounts significantly exceed income amounts reported by IRS or other third-party sources, and (2) family sizes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. However, regarding verification of household income and family sizes, HHS stated that as part of its eligibility verification requirements, it verifies consumer-reported income with data from IRS. However, HHS stated that because household incomes may fluctuate year to year, it is difficult for consumers to project income for the year in advance. According to HHS, in instances where applicant-reported income is higher than the IRS data, HHS accepts the consumer attestation. However, HHS stated that it will assess the feasibility and burden on individuals of setting a reasonable threshold for the generation of annual household income inconsistencies that would require additional verification for consumer-attested income that significantly exceeds income amounts reported by IRS or other third party sources. We believe that such an evaluation is a reasonable step to address our recommendation to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the program related to verification of household income. In addition, HHS stated that it currently accepts attestation when the family size provided by the individual does not match IRS's records. HHS stated that establishing a process to verify family size with IRS would require significant operational and privacy complexity. While we recognize that there may be certain complexities in the verification of family sizes, it is important that CMS develop policies and procedures to reasonably assure that such verifications are made on a regular basis.
    Recommendation: To comply with improper payments reporting requirements and improve procedures related to processing PTC information on tax returns, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the appropriate officials to assess the program against applicable IPIA-defined thresholds and conclude on its susceptibility to significant improper payments, and revise the scope of its improper payments susceptibility assessment for the PTC program to include instances in which advance PTC is greater than or equal to the amount of PTC claimed on the tax return. If the program meets the IPIA definition for being susceptible to significant improper payments based on this assessment, estimate and report improper payments associated with the PTC program consistent with IPIA requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The IRS partially agreed with this recommendation. IRS stated that instances in which the advance payment of the PTC is greater than or equal to the amount of the PTC claimed on the tax return do not result in the IRS increasing the outlay related to PTC, and so by definition these occurrences are not subject to IPIA, as amended. The IRS understands and shares the concern about the misreporting of items on tax returns, including cases where the taxpayer misreports excess advance PTC, but the IRS has many compliance programs that operate outside the scope of IPIA and that address taxpayer error and noncompliance. The IRS conducted its fiscal year 2016 PTC improper payment risk assessment consistent with guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which concurred with our methodology. However, the IRS is committed to discussing with OMB a future change to the agreed-upon procedures to assessing PTC improper payments as part of our larger and ongoing discussions with OMB about the administration of refundable tax credits and the challenges of reporting those credits through the framework of improper payments legislation and guidance.
    Recommendation: To comply with improper payments reporting requirements and improve procedures related to processing PTC information on tax returns, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the appropriate officials to assess and document the feasibility of approaches for incorporating information from the marketplaces on individuals who did not demonstrate that they met the eligibility requirements for citizenship or lawful presence in the tax compliance process. If determined feasible, IRS should work with Treasury to require marketplaces to periodically provide such information on individuals and use such information to recover advance PTC made for those individuals.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: The IRS agreed with this recommendation. IRS stated that it will evaluate the feasibility of receiving information from the marketplaces, and the value of using that information in its processes. If IRS determines that obtaining the data would be feasible and using it would be cost-effective, IRS will consult with Treasury on regulations or other guidance needed to obtain the information. Although eligibility determinations for the advance PTC are made outside the IRS's purview, the IRS has taken steps to ensure that the PTC is administered fairly and properly. For example, IRS has updated guidance in Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit, to clarify that any advance payment of the PTC made on behalf of individuals who did not meet the citizenship or lawful presence requirements must be repaid in full. Taxpayers are required to report the excess advance PTC on their tax returns. If they do not, IRS will address it through post-filing compliance. We will request and review supporting documentation for IRS's reported actions.
    Recommendation: To comply with improper payments reporting requirements and improve procedures related to processing PTC information on tax returns, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the appropriate officials to assess whether IRS should require its examiners to verify health care coverage of individuals to determine eligibility for PTC. To do this, IRS should complete its evaluation of the level of noncompliance related to duplicate health insurance coverage. Based on this evaluation and if cost effective, IRS should design and implement formal policies and procedures to routinely identify individuals inappropriately receiving PTC because of their eligibility for or enrollment in health care programs outside of the marketplaces and notify such individuals of their ineligibility for PTC.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: IRS agreed with this recommendation. IRS stated that it developed an Affordable Care Act (ACA) Compliance Strategy in October 2016, which included post-filing checks for the PTC. The IRS must rely upon post refund checks to verify if taxpayers had other healthcare coverage and therefore were not eligible to claim the PTC. For tax year 2017 the IRS plans to implement additional capabilities to evaluate coverage. The IRS will continue to evaluate the results and design and implement cost effective policies and procedures that routinely identify individuals inappropriately receiving PTC, as warranted.
    Recommendation: To comply with improper payments reporting requirements and improve procedures related to processing PTC information on tax returns, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the appropriate officials to design and implement procedures in the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) for examiners in the post-filing compliance units to review tax returns for health insurance coverage for the entire year, and to identify and assess individual shared responsibility payments (SRP) from those who are not appropriately reporting SRPs on their tax returns.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: IRS disagreed with this recommendation. However, IRS stated that, among other things, it has drafted a new IRM section for examiners who are responsible for reviewing tax returns to determine whether health insurance is reflected for the taxpayer for the entire year, and for identifying and assessing SRP on taxpayers who are not appropriately reporting SRP on their tax returns. IRS stated that the IRM section is pending approval by Exam Policy. Although IRS stated that it disagreed with our recommendation, we believe that the actions that IRS described in its response to our draft report would sufficiently address our recommendation if implemented effectively.
    Recommendation: To comply with improper payments reporting requirements and improve procedures related to processing PTC information on tax returns, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the appropriate officials to design and implement procedures in the IRM to regularly notify nonfilers of the requirement to file tax returns in order to continue to receive advance PTC in the future.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The IRS partially agreed with this recommendation. IRS stated that using a research-based approach to evaluate the 2015 tax filing season, it developed a post-compliance process for sending notices to individuals who received advance PTC paid on their behalf in the previous calendar year but failed to file a tax return and also to those who requested an extension to file. IRS stated that being flexible in its approach has allowed IRS to refine the process to improve efficiency and effectiveness. IRS further stated that based on the 2017 research analysis, IRS will determine whether the information should be included in an existing IRM. We agree that IRS should review its process to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. However, we continue to believe that designing and implementing procedures to regularly notify non-filers of the need to file to continue receiving advance PTC decreases the risk that the ad hoc notification process will not be followed consistently in each filing season.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD and Congress in their oversight of DOD's alternatively financed energy projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the military services to collect complete and accurate data on their alternatively financed energy projects, including data on the services' financial obligations and cost savings, and provide the data to DOD at least annually to aid departmental oversight.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense direct the military services to collect complete and accurate data on their alternatively financed energy projects and provide the data to DOD at least annually. On July 21, 2017, DOD confirmed that its response had not changed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the military departments conduct the level of assessment required to assure the performance of their UESC projects over the life of the contract, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment) to update its guidance to clarify the requirements for the verification of savings for UESC projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD nonconcurred with our recommendation. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid because, in the absence of updated and clear guidance, the military services will likely continue to take inconsistent approaches to assuring the performance of UESC projects, which could limit DOD's visibility over projects that commit the departments to long-term payments. On July 21, 2017, DOD confirmed that its response had not changed.
    Director: Randall B. Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of VA's productivity metrics and efficiency models and strengthen the monitoring of clinical productivity and efficiency VA-wide, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Health to expand existing productivity metrics to track the productivity of all providers of care to veterans by, for example, including contract physicians who are not VA employees as well as advance practice providers acting as sole providers.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of VA's productivity metrics and efficiency models and strengthen the monitoring of clinical productivity and efficiency VA-wide, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Health to help ensure the accuracy of underlying staffing and workload data by, for example, developing training to all providers on coding clinical procedures.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of VA's productivity metrics and efficiency models and strengthen the monitoring of clinical productivity and efficiency VA-wide, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Health to develop a policy requiring VAMCs to monitor and improve clinical efficiency through a standard process, such as establishing performance standards based on VA's efficiency models and developing a remediation plan for addressing clinical inefficiency.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of VA's productivity metrics and efficiency models and strengthen the monitoring of clinical productivity and efficiency VA-wide, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Health to establish an ongoing process to systematically review VAMCs' remediation plans and ensure that VAMCs and Veterans Integrated Service Networks are successfully implementing remediation plans for addressing low clinical productivity and inefficiency.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Shea
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NTTFI is able to provide quality information to support management and program oversight efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to coordinate with the Federal Highway Administration and tribal stakeholders and reexamine the need for road-description and condition data currently collected in the NTTFI and eliminate fields that do not serve an identified purpose.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NTTFI is able to provide quality information to support management and program oversight efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to for fields determined to have continued relevance for management and program oversight take steps to improve the quality of these data by clarifying guidance in the NTTFI coding guide that tribes use to collect data and by providing additional guidance on steps needed to ensure that data are consistently reported.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NTTFI is able to provide quality information to support management and program oversight efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to establish a process to monitor data to facilitate timely and targeted corrections to missing or erroneous data.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the DMR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a means to document when the level of service for each road section was last evaluated.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the DMR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop and maintain documentation supporting the unit costs of maintenance used to estimate maintenance needs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the DMR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a process for more complete and accurate reporting occurring under existing authority of Road Maintenance Program funds expended for performed maintenance on BIA roads.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve data on reasons for student absences, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to provide guidance to BIE schools to collect data on student absences related to road and weather conditions.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To best align resources allocation decisions to needs, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to review the formula to fund transportation at BIE schools and determine, with BIA and tribal stakeholders, what adjustments, such as distinguishing between gravel and paved roads, are needed to better reflect transportation costs for schools.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To leverage and build upon the ongoing efforts within individual DOT modal administrations and to address concerns raised by experts regarding collaboration and coordination, data quality and analytics, regulation development, project delivery processes, and addressing emerging issues, the Secretary of Transportation should: (1) conduct a department-wide review of DOT's current efforts to address these concerns; and (2) develop an action plan with specific steps to implement improvements, as identified, in these areas.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote transparency in the development and management of data standards for reporting federal spending, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should ensure that the Data Standards Committee makes information about the topics of the committee's proceedings and any resulting outcomes available to the public.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-6912

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should ensure SAVE guidance, including written materials and instructional videos, clearly and accurately reflects user agencies' responsibilities for completing each step of a SAVE check, as outlined in each agency's memorandum of agreement.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a mechanism to oversee agencies' completion of training on additional verification in accordance with SAVE MOA provisions and program policies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should provide notifications to user agencies when a case is ready for the user agency to review.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a more effective method for ensuring that individuals are aware of how they can access and correct their immigration records, such as by updating and improving the Fact Sheet for Benefit Applicants.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a documented, risk-based approach to monitoring and compliance, including (1) a risk-based approach to selecting behaviors to monitor; (2) standards for what triggers compliance actions for the selected behaviors; and (3) a risk-based process for how USCIS will prioritize and select agencies for compliance actions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and communicate a process for user agencies to update contact information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should ensure that user agencies participate in compliance reviews when selected, in accordance with SAVE MOA provisions and USCIS policy.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should identify the root causes of agencies' noncompliance with SAVE MOA provisions and program policies and tailor agency recommendations to those identified causes.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a process for ensuring user agencies implement corrective actions such as through a system of escalating compliance assistance actions and follow-up.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Carolyn L. Yocom
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of states' payment structures for MLTSS, the Administrator of CMS should require all states to collect and report on progress toward achieving MLTSS program goals, such as whether the program enhances the provision of community-based care.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of states' payment structures for MLTSS, the Administrator of CMS should establish criteria for what situations would warrant exceptions to the federal standards that the data used to set rates be no older than the three most recent and complete years.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of states' payment structures for MLTSS, the Administrator of CMS should provide states with guidance that includes minimum standards for encounter data validation procedures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Kathy King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that quality care is provided to AI/AN people, as part of the implementation of its quality framework, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Director of IHS to ensure that agency-wide standards for the quality of care provided in its federally operated facilities are developed, that facility performance in meeting these standards is systematically monitored over time, and that enhancements are made to its adverse event reporting system.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS agreed with our recommendation and cited steps it already has underway to improve the quality of care in IHS's federally-operated facilities. HHS described the development of the IHS Quality Framework and Implementation Plan released in November 2016. However, as of June 2017, IHS had not developed agency-wide standards for the quality of care provided in its federally operated facilities.
    Director: Carolyn L. Yocom
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should take immediate steps to assess and improve the data available for Medicaid program oversight, including, but not limited to, T-MSIS. Such steps could include (1) refining the overall data priority areas in T-MSIS to better identify those variables that are most critical for reducing improper payments, and (2) expediting efforts to assess and ensure the quality of these T-MSIS data.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of September 2017, CMS has begun targeted efforts to assess and improve T-MSIS data available for Medicaid program oversight, including initiating a pilot study with four states to identify data anomalies and obtaining input from external experts on data quality. However, because these initiatives are ongoing and further efforts to improve T-MSIS data are still evolving, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency and clarity of the Trafficking in Persons Report and improve its usefulness as a diplomatic tool to encourage countries to address trafficking, the Secretary of State should improve explanations in narratives for Tier 1 rankings, including using consistent language, as feasible, in the Trafficking in Persons Report.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on the draft report, State concurred with this recommendation and said that it seeks to make the Trafficking in Persons Report as useful as possible to a broad array of stakeholders and will continue its commitment to ensure each narrative better serves this purpose. GAO will continue to monitor State's efforts to fully implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency and clarity of the Trafficking in Persons Report and improve its usefulness as a diplomatic tool to encourage countries to address trafficking, the Secretary of State should take actions, such as tracking the recommendations in the Trafficking in Persons Report, to assess the effectiveness of the report as a tool to encourage countries to address human trafficking.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on the draft report, State concurred with this recommendation and described steps it is taking to more systematically assess the effectiveness of the Trafficking in Persons Report in encouraging governments to address human trafficking, including the recent establishment of a monitoring and evaluation position in the Trafficking Office. GAO will continue to monitor State's implementation efforts.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should take additional steps to collect and disseminate information on promising practices that could help improve data matching processes among state SNAP agencies, including broad and timely dissemination of information on results of recent relevant pilots or demonstrations.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted it is moving in this direction and would build on current efforts to address them. GAO will monitor these efforts and consider closing the recommendation when these efforts have been completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should work with the Department of Health and Human Services (as appropriate) to analyze spending and understand data needs for SNAP across federal and state contracts and in relation to other programs as FNS explores ways to potentially reduce the costs of using commercial data services.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted it has been moving in this general direction and would build on current efforts to address it. GAO will monitor these efforts and consider closing the recommendation when these efforts have been completed.
    Director: James Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the accessibility and reliability of SNF expenditure data, the Acting Administrator of CMS should take steps to improve the accessibility of SNF expenditure data, making it easier for public stakeholders to locate and use the data.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the accessibility and reliability of SNF expenditure data, the Acting Administrator of CMS should take steps to ensure the accuracy and completeness of SNF expenditure data.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David B. Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the data published on ForeignAssistance.gov and help ensure consistency in published information, the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the USAID Administrator, undertake a review of the efforts to date on ensuring data quality

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and noted that it will continue to work with USAID in consultation with OMB to assess whether additional existing resources are required to meet the goals of ForeignAssistance.gov. As of June 2017, State has taken some steps to coordinate with OMB and USAID to improve the quality of data reported for ForeignAssistance.gov. For example, in January 2017, State co-hosted an interagency meeting with OMB and USAID to discuss data quality and reporting requirements. As of June 2017, GAO was following up with State to obtain additional information on how the established review process would or has helped improve the quality of the data reported on Foreignassistance.gov.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the data published on ForeignAssistance.gov and help ensure consistency in published information, the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the USAID Administrator, develop additional guidance that takes into consideration current challenges to updating ForeignAssistance.gov with verified data.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, State has taken some steps to coordinate with OMB and USAID to improve the quality of data reported for ForeignAssistance.gov. For example, in January 2017, State co-hosted an interagency meeting with OMB and USAID to discuss data quality and reporting requirements. As of June 2017, GAO was following up with State to determine if additional guidance has been developed that takes into consideration current challenges to updating ForeignAssistance.gov with verified data
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-28334

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement a process in Flight Standards for incorporating into SAS the volume of critical maintenance that each U.S. airline contracts to repair stations.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA did not concur with this recommendation. In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA does not plan to implement the recommendation because the agency believes the subjective nature of volume of work makes it an ineffective risk indicator. While FAA does not specifically assess volume of work as a primary factor in determining risk at repair stations, the agency does monitor many risks factors as primary risk indicators. Many of these risk indicators are associated with important aspects of work volume such as high workforce turnover; changes in management; rapid growth or downsizing; changes in aircraft complexity/programs; financial conditions; age of fleet and increases in aircraft discrepancies. FAA considers these factors and the criticality of a specific maintenance action on the safe operation of an aircraft to be primary risk indicators.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement an evaluative process with measurable performance goals and measures to determine the effectiveness of SAS as the SMS safety assurance component.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA plans to develop overall program goals and metrics as part of the next implementation phase of its new Safety Assurance System. These metrics are expected to be fully developed based on the final design of the new system and the program requirements identified, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2017.
    Director: Sager, Michelle A
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the STOC, should develop a travel data management approach, including common reporting formats that would provide GSA with more consistent travel cost data allowing GSA to compare travel costs across federal agencies. GSA could also include in this data management approach the planned implementation of the shared services model that would allow agencies to share a wide range of travel services with each other. This process could reduce both administrative costs and burden to the government and enable data-driven decision making.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to GSA officials, GSA will take the following actions: (1) conduct a rest program to determine the opportunities and barriers for creating a reliable, standardized data repository containing government-wide travel spending data (pending OMB Director approval); (2) develop and test, in coordination with volunteer agencies and the GSA City Pairs Program personnel, an airfare savings dashboard to assimilates data from multiple sources and provides information on savings and opportunities for additional airfare savings by agencies; (3) publish an FTR Bulletin that identifies 5 core travel Key Performance Indicators that all agencies should use to improve travel management via standardized data; and (4) Identify and promote consistent adaptation of standardized default configurations of air and lodging choices within all E-Gove Travel Service 2 systems. As of August 2017, according to agency officials, they expect to implement this recommendation by the end of September 2017.
    Director: James Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the Department of Health and Human Services ensure accuracy in Part B drug payment rates, Congress should consider requiring all manufacturers of Part B drugs paid at ASP, not only those with Medicaid drug rebate agreements, to submit sales price data to CMS, and ensure that CMS has authority to request source documentation to periodically validate all such data.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, no action has been taken on this Matter for Congressional Consideration.
    Recommendation: CMS should periodically verify the sales price data submitted by a sample of drug manufacturers by requesting source documentation from manufacturers to corroborate the reported data, either directly or by working with the HHS Office of Inspector General as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of this report, HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS stated that it will continue to work with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as appropriate to collect source documentation from drug manufacturers and take action as may be warranted. HHS also stated that OIG reviews and compares the submitted average sales price (ASP) to the average manufacturer price (AMP) for Medicare Part B drugs and CMS has the authority to adjust ASP-based payment amounts when the difference between the two rates reaches a certain threshold. We do not consider this recommendation closed because CMS only collects source documentation from manufacturers under very limited circumstances (e.g., when there are obvious inconsistencies in the data submitted by manufacturers). CMS does not periodically request source documentation, such as sales invoices, from a sample of drug manufacturers to verify that the reported data reflect actual sales prices. As of August 17, 2017, CMS has not provided any additional information about actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the monitoring of holding facilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct Border Patrol and ICE to develop and implement a process to assess their time in custody data for all individuals in holding facilities, including: (1) identifying and addressing potential data quality issues; and (2) identifying cases where time in custody exceeded guidelines and assessing the factors impacting time in custody.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the transparency of the complaints process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP and ICE to develop and issue guidance on how and which complaint mechanisms should be communicated to individuals in custody at holding facilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the tracking of holding facility complaints, the Secretary of Homeland Security should include a classification code in all complaint tracking systems related to DHS holding facilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide useful information for compliance monitoring, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP and ICE to develop and implement a process for analyzing trends related to holding facility complaints across their respective component.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further deter noncompliance in the Taxpayer Protection Program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should, in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) e-authentication guidance, conduct an updated risk assessment to identify new or ongoing risks for TPP's online and phone authentication options, including documentation of time frames for conducting the assessment

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS is taking steps to assess the risks of TPP authentication options, as GAO recommended in its May 2016 report. In November 2016, IRS reported that it will implement the recommendation by October 2017. According to IRS, the agency assessed the e-authentication risk for the TPP web application based on OMB and NIST guidance. Based on the results of these assessments, the agency stated that officials are working to improve the level of assurance for the web application. In the interim, IRS reported that taxpayers will authenticate their identities by phone or in-person until the TPP web application has been sufficiently updated. In March 2017, officials stated that they recently completed a risk assessment for TPP's phone and in-person authentication. Additionally, according to officials, IRS has implemented a new authentication process for TPP's phone authentication that began in February 2017. GAO requested documentation on IRS's risk assessment and authentication process. Once GAO receives and reviews documentation of these actions, it will determine the extent to which IRS has implemented the recommendation. Conducting an updated risk assessment for TPP in accordance with e-authentication and risk management standards, enabled IRS to identify appropriate opportunities to strengthen TPP authentication and prevent IDT fraudsters from passing and potentially receiving millions of dollars in refunds. In addition, strengthening TPP could improve IRS's return on investment by ensuring that efforts to flag fraudulent returns result in fewer refunds paid to IDT fraudsters.
    Recommendation: To further deter noncompliance in the Taxpayer Protection Program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should, in accordance with OMB and NIST e-authentication guidance, implement appropriate actions to mitigate risks identified in the assessment.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS is taking steps to assess the risks of TPP authentication options, as GAO recommended in its May 2016 report. In November 2016, IRS reported that it will implement the recommendation by October 2017. According to IRS, the agency assessed the e-authentication risk for the TPP web application based on OMB and NIST guidance. Based on the results of these assessments, the agency stated that officials are working to improve the level of assurance for the web application. In the interim, IRS reported that taxpayers will authenticate their identities by phone or in-person until the TPP web application has been sufficiently updated. In March 2017, officials stated that they recently completed a risk assessment for TPP's phone and in-person authentication. Additionally, according to officials, IRS has implemented a new authentication process for TPP's phone authentication that began in February 2017. GAO requested documentation on IRS's risk assessment and authentication process. Once GAO receives and reviews documentation of these actions, it will determine the extent to which IRS has implemented the recommendation. Conducting an updated risk assessment for TPP in accordance with e-authentication and risk management standards, enabled IRS to identify appropriate opportunities to strengthen TPP authentication and prevent IDT fraudsters from passing and potentially receiving millions of dollars in refunds. In addition, strengthening TPP could improve IRS's return on investment by ensuring that efforts to flag fraudulent returns result in fewer refunds paid to IDT fraudsters.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the Taxonomy's IDT refund fraud estimates, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should remove refund thresholds from criteria used to develop IRS's refunds-paid estimates.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, IRS reported that the agency removed the lower limit threshold from the modeling dataset in March 2016, which will expand the population of returns considered for the 2015 Filing Season Taxonomy refund fraud estimates. Further, the agency noted that, to mitigate other thresholds, other returns receive manual reviews. GAO will analyze the 2015 Filing Season Taxonomy estimates, when available, to determine the extent to which GAO's recommendation has been implemented.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the Taxonomy's IDT refund fraud estimates, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should utilize return-level data--where available--to reduce overcounting and improve the quality and accuracy of the refunds-prevented estimates.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, IRS reported that the agency did not agree with GAO's recommendation and noted that the agency does not think that adopting a different methodology for Taxonomy estimates is an effective use of agency resources. According to IRS, the agency established the Global Identity Theft Report (Global Report) as a standardized report that uses return-level data for most of the identity theft protected categories and summary data elsewhere. Further, IRS reported that the agency will continue to improve the Global Report, which will flow into the Taxonomy. However, as we reported in May 2016, by using the Global Report to calculate Taxonomy estimates for refunds prevent, IRS may have overestimated the refunds protected or recovered. For example, electronically filed returns that are rejected are overcounted because the same return can be rejected multiple times. Additionally, IRS already has a count of known and potential identity theft returns in its modeling dataset that the agency could use to help calculate the refunds protected estimates. GAO will analyze the 2015 Filing Season Taxonomy estimates, when available, to determine the extent to which GAO's recommendation has been implemented.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct executive leaders to establish guidance that clarifies when USPS should develop cost-savings estimates using a rigorous approach that includes, for example, a sensitivity analysis and consideration of other factors that could affect net costs and savings, versus when it is sufficient to develop a rough estimate.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, USPS provided documentation that demonstrates the current processes cost-savings estimates would be developed under, which includes additional rigor testing. As of August 2017, this recommendation remains open pending additional review of the documentation provided and discussions with USPS about these current processes.
    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct executive leaders to verify that calculations of changes in revenue at POStPlan post offices in USPS's revenue analyses are consistent with USPS's definition of POStPlan post offices and take steps to consider when it may be appropriate to develop an approach for these analyses that will allow USPS to more fully consider the effects of POStPlan on retail revenue across USPS.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to USPS officials as of June 2017, USPS has updated the calculations in its re-occurring POStPlan revenue analyses to reflect the inconsistencies GAO identified and has had internal discussions to consider at what benchmark it would be appropriate to develop an approach for these analyses that more fully considers POStPlan?s effects on retail revenue across USPS. As of August 2017, this recommendation remains open pending additional documentation from USPS supporting its statements about the updates to its revenue analyses and additional information from USPS about the results of its benchmarking considerations.
    Director: Cindy Brown Barnes
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen DOL's efforts to ensure employers protect the safety and health of workers at meat and poultry plants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, working together with the Commissioner of Labor Statistics as appropriate, to develop and implement a cost-effective method for gathering more complete data on musculoskeletal disorders.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL generally agreed with this recommendation and stated that its implementation would make a difference in working conditions in the meat and poultry industry. The agency also noted that resource constraints may make it difficult to implement.
    Recommendation: To develop a better understanding of meat and poultry sanitation workers' injuries and illnesses, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health and the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to study how they could regularly gather data on injury and illness rates among sanitation workers in the meat and poultry industry.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL generally agreed with this recommendation and stated that its implementation would make a difference in working conditions in the meat and poultry industry. The agency also noted that resource constraints may make it difficult to implement.
    Recommendation: To develop a better understanding of meat and poultry sanitation workers' injuries and illnesses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conduct a study of the injuries and illnesses these workers experience, including their causes and how they are reported. Given the challenges to gaining access to this population, NIOSH may want to coordinate with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop ways to initiate this study.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and noted the previous difficulties NIOSH has had gaining access to these workplaces and the potential resource commitment involved in conducting such a study. We acknowledge this access challenge and noted in our report that OSHA has negotiated access for NIOSH in other industries, hence the rationale for recommending that NIOSH may want to coordinate with OSHA. The agency reported that it would reach out to stakeholders, such as worker unions, USDA and OSHA, to discuss the range of types of study that could be conducted to provide useful information. GAO will await the progress of this effort and close the recommendation when the agency initiates a study.
    Director: Carolyn L. Yocom
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of states' and plans' Medicaid managed care (MMC) plan provider screening efforts, the Acting Administrator of CMS should consider which additional databases that states and MMC plans use to screen providers could be helpful in improving the effectiveness of these efforts and determine whether any of these databases should be added to the list of databases identified by CMS for screening purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS analyzed 22 databases that were reported to GAO as being used by Medicaid managed care plans to screen providers. It determined that several were already in use by CMS and mentioned in its guidance, several required more study by CMS, and others were not reliable. In April 2017, we reviewed CMS's analysis. For 8 of the databases, CMS noted that more information is needed, including the availability of the data and whether CMS would need an identifier to link providers to the data. CMS has requested additional information for these databases and has not yet concluded whether the databases should be added to the list of databases it has identified for screening purposes. To close the recommendation, CMS will need to determine whether the remaining databases it has studied should be added to the CMS list of databases to be used for provider screening and take the appropriate action.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of states' and plans' MMC plan provider screening efforts, the Acting Administrator of CMS should collaborate with SSA to facilitate sharing CMS's Death Master File subscription with state Medicaid programs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS has signed an Interagency Agreement that provides for the states' ability to access the SSA Death Master File. CMS said that it will provide Death Master File information to specific individuals within each state in the near future. To close the recommendation, CMS will need to begin to provide the states with access to Death Master File data and provide us with documentation that it has done so.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of states' and plans' MMC plan provider screening efforts, the Acting Administrator of CMS should coordinate with other federal agencies, as necessary, to explore the use of an identifier that is relevant for the screening of MMC plan providers and common across databases used to screen MMC plan providers.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with the recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: James Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As CMS continues to implement and refine the contract-level RADV audit process to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reducing and recovering improper payments and to improve the accuracy of CMS's calculation of coding intensity, the Administrator should modify that calculation by taking actions such as the following: (1) including only the three most recent pair-years of risk score data for all contracts; (2) standardizing the changes in disease risk scores to account for the expected increase in risk scores for all MA contracts; (3) developing a method of accounting for diagnostic errors not coded by providers, such as requiring that diagnoses added by MA organizations be flagged as supplemental diagnoses in the agency's Encounter Data System to separately calculate coding intensity scores related only to diagnoses that were added through MA organizations' supplemental record review (that is, were not coded by providers); and (4) including MA beneficiaries enrolled in contracts that were renewed from a different contract under the same MA organization during the pair-year period.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As CMS continues to implement and refine the contract-level RADV audit process to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reducing and recovering improper payments. The Administrator should modify CMS's selection of contracts for contract-level RADV audits to focus on those contracts most likely to have high rates of improper payments by taking actions such as the following: (1) selecting more contracts with the highest coding intensity scores; (2) excluding contracts with low coding intensity scores; (3) selecting contracts with high rates of unsupported diagnoses in prior contract-level RADV audits; (4) if a contract with a high rate of unsupported diagnoses is no longer in operation, selecting a contract under the same MA organization that includes the service area of the prior contract; and (5) selecting some contracts with high enrollment that also have either high rates of unsupported diagnoses in prior contract-level RADV audits or high coding intensity scores.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As CMS continues to implement and refine the contract-level RADV audit process to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reducing and recovering improper payments. The Administrator should enhance the timeliness of CMS's contract-level RADV process by taking actions such as the following: (1) closely aligning the time frames in CMS's contract-level RADV audits with those of the national RADV audits the agency uses to estimate the MA improper payment rate; (2) reducing the time between notifying MA organizations of contract audit selection and notifying them about the beneficiaries and diagnoses that will be audited; (3) improving the reliability and performance of the agency's process for transferring medical records from MA organizations, including assessing the feasibility of updating Electronic Submission of Medical Documentation for use in transferring medical records in contract-level RADV audits; and (4) requiring that CMS contract-level RADV auditors complete their medical record reviews within a specific number of days comparable to other medical record review time frames in the Medicare program.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As CMS continues to implement and refine the contract-level RADV audit process to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reducing and recovering improper payments. The Administrator should improve the timeliness of CMS's contract-level RADV appeal process by requiring that reconsideration decisions be rendered within a specified number of days comparable to other medical record review and first-level appeal time frames in the Medicare program.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As CMS continues to implement and refine the contract-level RADV audit process to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reducing and recovering improper payments. The Administrator should ensure that CMS develops specific plans and a timetable for incorporating a RAC in the MA program as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the quality and transparency of data entered into FRPP as GSA transitions the database to a platform that would enable greater government-wide use, the Administrator of GSA, in consultation with OMB and federal agencies, should (1) assess the reliability of FRPP data by determining how individual agencies collect and report FRPP data for each FRPP field, including any supplemental guidance used by agencies to comply with government-wide FRPP data definitions as part of the annual certification of FRPP data; (2) analyze the differences in collecting and reporting practices used by these agencies; and (3) identify and make available to FRPP users the limitations of using FRPP data, in the context of how the data are intended to be used in real property decision making and to measure real property performance across agencies and update federal guidance to address limitations, as needed.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GSA partially agreed with the recommendation noting that it has limited resources to fully analyze and map the data relative to FRPP data definitions, and that it is the responsibility of individual agencies to ensure reliability of the data and compliance with FRPP definitions. As of October 2016, GSA has taken some action to implement this recommendation. GSA told us it has made progress by conducting an in-depth survey in June 2106 focusing on several data elements including: replacement value, status, owned and otherwise management operating costs, repair needs, utilization, and lease costs. The survey asked agencies questions regarding the processes/resources used to source and compile these data elements from agency IT systems as well as internal agency guidance. GSA received responses from 24 agencies and stated it plans to complete its initial analysis of the survey in the fall of 2016 and indicate limitations of these data elements. GSA plans to conduct a series of working group meetings with agencies to conduct an in depth review of the survey results and to develop a set of recommendations for the Federal Real Property Council. GSA said these recommendations may include, but are not limited to, altering data dictionary definitions, sharing best or common practices for reporting these data elements, and sharing the limitations on the use of these data elements. Based on the working group outcomes and input from the Federal Real Property Council and OMB, GSA plans to produce a white paper on these topics by the latter part of 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance the usefulness of the National Strategy for managing federal real property government-wide, the Director of OMB should expand the National Strategy to further address long-standing real property management challenges by: (1) expanding the scope to include maintenance and repair needs; (2) articulating planned actions and identifying alternative approaches, including alternative-funding mechanisms, to address underlying causes of the real property problems; (3) ensuring that performance measures at the agency level inform the overall progress of the National Strategy; and (4) determining the government-wide costs, benefits, and risks by leveraging agencies' long-term capital plans and identifying approaches to optimally manage that risk.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm the actions that OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update system and application audit plans based on the current version of referenced policies and guidelines and when significant changes are made to a system or application.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: The IRS concurred with the recommendation and stated that it plans to implement it. Subsequent to IRS informing us that it has taken action on this recommendation, we plan to evaluate their implementation of this recommendation as part of the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements.
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update the security plan for systems that provide network infrastructure services to IRS personnel and information systems to reflect changes to the operating environment.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: On March 28, 2017, IRS officials informed us of the actions they were taking to address this recommendation. Upon receiving information from IRS, we plan to evaluate IRS's implementation of this recommendation as part of the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FPS enhance its strategic human capital planning efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of NPPD to work with the Director of FPS to identify time frames for developing human capital performance measures with targets that are explicitly aligned to FPS's stated human capital goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FPS stated that NPPD is working with FPS to develop a recruitment and retention strategy that will include performance measures. This strategy will be complete by December 31, 2016. However, NPPD and FPS have not yet identified timeframes for developing performance measures for other human capital areas identified in FPS's human capital plan, such as leadership and knowledge management and building a results-oriented performance culture. Furthermore, because the recruitment and retention strategy is still under development, it is unclear whether the performance measures will have targets that are explicitly aligned to FPS's stated human capital goals. FPS plans to finalize all actions associated with this recommendation by March 2017.
    Recommendation: To help FPS enhance its strategic human capital planning efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of NPPD to work with the Director of FPS to establish a plan and time frames for updating FPS's staffing model regularly and for unexpected changes in operating conditions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FPS stated that it has conducted a review and gap analysis of its existing staffing model to identify additional features it needs to incorporate into the model. FPS also began to develop a data collection plan that will, among other things, identify data needed and how FPS will validate the data. The results of the gap analysis and data collection plan will be used to establish a plan, with timeframes, for updating the staffing model regularly and when unexpected changes in operating conditions occur. FPS plans to finalize all actions associated with this recommendation by March 2017.
    Recommendation: To help FPS enhance its strategic human capital planning efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of NPPD to work with the Director of FPS to develop and document guidance on the process FPS will use to ensure the quality of its staffing model data, such as guidance on how to collect data, validate assumptions, and perform sensitivity analyses to assess the assumptions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FPS is in the process of developing documentation that will govern the process it will use to collect data and ensure data quality. FPS plans to finalize all actions associated with this recommendation by March 2017.
    Director: Brian Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to oversee its inventory of leased real property, aimed at improving the accuracy and completeness of data in RPAD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to enforce DOD's Real Property Inventory (RPI) Reporting Guidance, which states that for multiple assets associated with a single lease, the military departments and WHS must provide a breakout of the annual rent plus other costs for each asset on the same lease, to avoid overstating costs associated with such leases.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation that Secretary of the Army enforce DOD's Real Property Inventory (RPI) Reporting Guidance to break out the annual rent plus other costs for each asset on the same lease to avoid overstating the costs associated with such leases. As of October 2016, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help reduce facility costs and reliance on leased space, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the military departments to require that their departments look for opportunities to relocate DOD organizations in leased space to installations that may have underutilized space due to force structure reductions or other indicators of potentially available space, where such relocation is cost-effective and does not interfere with the installation's ongoing military mission.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD did not concur with our recommendation that the military departments look for opportunities to relocate DOD organizations in leased space onto installations that may have underutilized space. As of October 2016, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to ensure that its leased facilities are secure, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) to request reports from the Federal Protective Service for all leased facilities on a periodic basis as determined necessary for oversight. At a minimum, the Under Secretary should request (1) the results of the assessments, (2) the date on which the last assessment was completed for each facility and the date for which the next scheduled assessment is planned, and (3) information on whether these dates meet the time frames established by Interagency Security Committee standards.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation that DOD improve its ability to ensure that its leased facilities are secure and stated that it would collaborate with the Federal Protective Service to obtain the listing of the leased facilities the agency supports, monitor and provide oversight of the scheduling of the assessments, and review the results of the assessments. As of October 2016, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to oversee its inventory of leased real property, aimed at improving the accuracy and completeness of data in RPAD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment) to modify the office's Real Property Information Model to include a data element to capture the square footage for each lease of space in a single building and also make a corresponding change to its Real Property Inventory (RPI) Reporting Guidance to require that the square footage for each individual lease be reported when multiple leases exist for a single building, to avoid overstating the total square footage assigned to each lease in RPAD.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with our recommendation that the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment) modify the office's Real Property Information Model to include a new data element to capture the total square footage assigned to each individual lease when multiple leases exist for a single building and make a corresponding change to its guidance to avoid overstating the total square footage assigned to each lease in RPAD. As of October 2016, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and understand the uncertainties of its forecasts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to apply risk-management practices to analyze and report on uncertainty. Specifically, the FAA should, for both the Aerospace and TAF forecasts, analyze and report the forecast's uncertainty, establish forecast error thresholds, and develop an approach that will prompt forecast review when error thresholds are exceeded, and, for TAF forecasts, monitor and publish multi-year historical error performance, as FAA does for the Aerospace Forecast.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and understand the uncertainties of its forecasts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to fully document its methods and assumptions in developing the Aerospace and TAF forecasting models to provide greater transparency to internal users and external stakeholders.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Seto J. Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    8 open recommendations
    including 8 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study on actions that CMS can take to monitor and analyze, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the extent to which data hub queries provide requested or relevant applicant verification information, for the purpose of improving the data-matching process and reducing the number of applicant inconsistencies; and for those actions identified as feasible, create a written plan and schedule for implementing them.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported that it considered this recommendation open and it was reviewing options for conducting a feasibility study to monitor and analyze information received from the Hub as recommended. HHS plans to examine the hub process in delivering usable information for applicant verification and analyzing data to identify trends or patterns that could suggest improvements in verification or actions that could reduce the number of inconsistencies that require further attention. HHS reported that this effort began March 2016. In March 2017, the agency said it is making significant progress towards implementing the recommendation. We will continue to monitor HHS's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to track the value of advance premium tax credit and cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies that are terminated or adjusted for failure to resolve application inconsistencies, and use this information to inform assessments of program risk and performance. (See related recommendation 7.)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported it considers this recommendation closed because it expanded the use of analytics to analyze the value of premium tax credit and CSR subsidies that are eliminated or adjusted for 2015 actions at the policy level, and that CMS continues to analyze the data to develop future operations changes. In May 2016, we requested documentation of these actions, including (1) information produced using the capability described; (2) ways in which this information is being used for analysis for purposes such as program operations, monitoring, risk assessment, or fraud cleaning; and (3) a description of the future operational changes contemplated based on the analyses done. Once received, we will review to determine whether the efforts taken warrant closing the recommendation. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to, in the case of CSR subsidies that are terminated or adjusted for failure to resolve application inconsistencies, consider and document, in conjunction with other agencies as relevant, whether it would be feasible to create a mechanism to recapture those costs, including whether additional statutory authority would be required to do so; and for actions determined to be feasible and reasonable, create a written plan and schedule for implementing them.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported it considers this recommendation closed because CMS has considered whether it would be feasible to create a mechanism to recapture CSRs and determined that this is not possible under the current statute. HHS also noted that as currently written, the statute does not provide this authority and to pursue developing a mechanism to do so would require Congress to change the statute. In May 2016, we agreed to consider the recommendation closed upon HHS advising us if it made any review or inquiry into the feasibility of recapture apart from statutory authority and providing documentation of such consideration so that we have a full record of the agency's consideration prior to closing the recommendation. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to identify and implement procedures to resolve Social Security number inconsistencies where the Marketplace is unable to verify Social Security numbers or applicants do not provide them.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported that it considered this recommendation open and was working on implementing functionality for updating consumers' Social Security numbers (SSN) and their eligibility based on the correct SSN. HHS reported that is it targeting deployment of the SSN update functionality in 2017. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to reevaluate CMS's use of Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS) incarceration data and make a determination to either (a) use the PUPS data, among other things, as an indicator of further research required in individual cases, and to develop an effective process to clear incarceration inconsistencies or terminate coverage, or (b) if no suitable process can be identified to verify incarceration status, accept applicant attestation on status in all cases, unless the attestation is not reasonably compatible with other information that may indicate incarceration, and forego the inconsistency process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported it considers this recommendation closed because in 2015, it made the determination to no longer require application filers to submit documentation regarding incarceration status. We were aware of that determination, but the recommendation was to reevaluate use of PUPS from the specific standpoint of using the data as it was intended to be used as in indicator of further research and then draw a conclusion on the use of the data. In May 2016, we requested documentation demonstrating that in the period since we made this recommendation, CMS has undertaken the reevaluation in the fashion that we indicated. Once received, we will review to determine whether the efforts taken warrant closing the recommendation. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to create a written plan and schedule for providing Marketplace call center representatives with access to information on the current status of eligibility documents submitted to CMS's documents processing contractor.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported it considers this recommendation closed because since May 2015, call center representatives have received daily updates on the status of eligibility documentation. It is working to provide call center representatives with real-time data that is tentatively scheduled for later in 2016. In May 2016, we noted that our recommendation was focused on providing such real-time capability and requested (1) confirmation that call center representatives currently have on-demand, real-time access to up-to-date, application-level document status; and documentation showing development and implementation of this capability; or (2) a written plan and schedule for providing this capability as recommended. Once received, we will review to determine whether the efforts taken warrant closing the recommendation. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to conduct a fraud risk assessment, consistent with best practices provided in GAO's framework for managing fraud risks in federal programs, of the potential for fraud in the process of applying for qualified health plans through the federal Marketplace.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported that it considered this recommendation open. It noted that CMS has launched a Marketplace Integrated Project Team (IPT) through the Program Integrity Board, which includes senior staff from across CMS. An objective of the IPT is to complete the fraud risk assessment of Marketplace eligibility and enrollment based on GAO's Fraud Risk Framework, as required by the recommendation. HHS said the first three steps of GAO's framework for this part were to be completed by early summer. Once HHS has completed all relevant steps of the framework, and the agency has fully documented its implementation efforts-including discussion of any items contemplated by the framework that HHS elected not to follow-we will review to determine whether the efforts taken warrant closing the recommendation. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To better oversee the efficacy of PPACA's enrollment control process; to better monitor costs, risk, and program performance; to assist with tax compliance; to strengthen the eligibility determination process; to provide applicants with improved customer service and up-to-date information about submission of eligibility documentation; and to better document agency activities, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Acting Administrator of CMS to fully document prior to implementation, and have readily available for inspection thereafter, any significant decision on qualified health plan enrollment and eligibility matters, with such documentation to include details such as policy objectives, supporting analysis, scope, and expected costs and effects.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2016, HHS reported it considers this recommendation closed because CMS prepares an annual Marketplace and Related Programs Cycle Memo to fulfill reporting requirements for internal control. The Memo describes all significant eligibility and enrollment policy and process changes, including new internal key controls associated with these changes, and the 2015 Memo was released in September 2015. In May 2016, we notified HHS that its actions do not close the recommendation. Information contained in the Memos is after-the-fact and while useful, does not meet the full range of documentation contemplated by our recommendation, especially development and analysis of changes prior to implementation. In March 2017, HHS provided us information on their response to this and other recommendations from this report. However, HHS has not provided sufficient documentation to show that they have implemented this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in this area.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the accuracy of Drive-thru data to allow agencies to better manage their leased-vehicle fleet data, the Administrator of GSA should evaluate the 9,999-mile/month electronic safeguard for Drive-thru odometer readings to determine if a lower threshold could improve the accuracy of customer data and adjust this safeguard accordingly.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, GSA reported that it had examined the reported monthly miles for all GSA Fleet leased vehicles for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. Analysis showed that there are a number of vehicles that consistently report mileage between 5,000-9,999 miles per month and that changing the threshold to 7,999 would require an average of 226 customers per month to override the electronic safeguard. GSA will not change the safeguard but will add a warning message when the monthly mileage exceeds 4,999 per month and is more than 3 times the vehicle's monthly average.
    Recommendation: To provide better assurance that Fleet Service Representatives (FSR) are having conversations with leasing customers about utilization in accordance with GSA expectations, the Administrator of GSA should develop a mechanism to help ensure that these conversations occur.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, GSA stated that it had reviewed the Customer Visit Checklist which FSRs use, and had codified a checklist to be used for all visits between FSRs and GSA Fleet customers. GSA provided GAO with a copy of the revised checklist. The new checklist includes a requirement to discuss vehicle utililization and the need to "right-size" a vehicle fleet.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the leased-vehicle justification processes across federal agencies, the Administrator of GSA should examine the Federal Property Management Regulations to determine if these regulations should be amended to require that vehicle justifications are clearly documented and readily available, and adjust them accordingly.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, GSA reported that it had reviewed the Federal Property Management Regulations and determined that the section that relates to vehicle utilization (101-39.301) needs to be rewritten. GSA will draft a rewritten section of the FPMR. The draft will then undergo further a public review and comment period.
    Recommendation: To improve the justification process, the Secretary of the Department of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to modify the current process to ensure that each leased vehicle in the agency's fleet meets the agency's utilization criteria or has readily available justification documentation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, DOD provided GAO with a copy of a DOD memo that requires vehicles to meet utilization criteria or to have justifications electronic format or in hard copy with other vehicle information.
    Recommendation: To improve their justification process, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to modify the current process to ensure that each leased vehicle in the agency's fleet meets the agency's utilization criteria or has readily available justification documentation.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, VA stated that they were still working to address these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the elimination of unnecessary vehicles, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the NPS Director to take corrective action to address each leased vehicle that has not met the agency's utilization criteria or passed the justification process. This corrective action could include (1) reassigning vehicles within the agency to ensure they are utilized or (2) returning vehicles to GSA.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOI provided documentation of steps it has taken to ensure vehicles have utilization or justification documentation as well as documentation of corrective action taken to address vehicles that have not passed these processes.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the elimination of unnecessary vehicles, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to take corrective action to address each leased vehicle that has not met the agency's utilization criteria or passed the justification process. This corrective action could include (1) reassigning vehicles within the agency to ensure they are utilized or (2) returning vehicles to GSA.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, VA was in the process of working with GSA to ensure that VA's new fleet management system could produce reports on utilization. VA is also in the process of amending its current fleet policy to reflect utilization criteria.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure agencies fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency websites, the Director of OMB should consolidate and centralize on OMB's IQA guidance website a government-wide summary of requests for correction submitted under the IQA.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: Spoke with OMB Contact on 1/30/17. She agreed to provide an update on OMB's actions in response to this recommendation in the near future.
    Recommendation: To better ensure agencies fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency websites, the Director of OMB should work with the Department of Defense and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to help ensure that they post their IQA administrative mechanisms and IQA guidance online.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: Spoke with OMB Contact on 1/30/17. She agreed to provide an update on OMB's actions in response to this recommendation in the near future.
    Recommendation: To better ensure agencies fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency websites, the Director of OMB should provide additional guidance for agencies to help improve the transparency and usability of their IQA websites to help ensure the public can easily find and access online information about agency IQA implementation. Such guidance should include (1) specific time frames for agencies to post information on the IQA correction requests they have received, including making it clear when agencies have not received IQA requests; (2) instructions for agencies to include a statement on their IQA websites that the agencies may address correction requests through other administrative processes; (3) instructions for agencies to include, when responding to correction requests, whether those agencies plan to address the request through another administrative processes, and if so, which process they will use; and (4) suggestions for improving usability of agencies' websites including fixing broken links.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: Spoke with OMB Contact on 1/30/17. She agreed to provide an update on OMB's actions in response to this recommendation in the near future.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop comprehensive plans, with goals and time frames, to help ensure that identified problems with the completeness, timeliness, and accuracy of information in its database on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has started taking steps to help ensure that identified problems with its data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected. For example, FDA plans to conduct an assessment of tracked safety data by 2022 and is developing a quality measurement plan that will include periodic audits of postmarket study data. However, as of August 2017, FDA has not provided specifics regarding what types of actions it will take once these assessments and audits are completed, including goals and time frames for when these actions will be completed. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA provides information on how it will address issues identified in its assessments and audits and the time frames for doing so.
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to work with stakeholders within FDA to identify additional improvements that could be made to FDA's current database or future information technology investments to capture information in a form that can be easily and systematically used by staff for oversight purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has identified actions that could potentially improve FDA's process for overseeing tracked safety issues, but as of August 2017, FDA has not indicated that stakeholder input has been solicited specifically regarding improvements to FDA's IT systems that would facilitate systematic oversight of these issues. FDA may address this as part of a planned assessment of its data system that is not scheduled to be completed until FY 2022. For postmarket studies, FDA has indicated that it intends to formally assess the IT needs of users once it has transferred postmarket data to its new informatics platform, which will not occur until 2018 at the earliest. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA has worked with stakeholders to identify improvements to FDA's IT systems to capture information in a form that can be used by staff for oversight purposes.
    Director: Linda Kohn
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the measurement of nursing home quality, the Administrator of CMS should establish specific timeframes, including milestones to track progress, for the development and implementation of a standardized survey methodology across all states.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and in September 2017 reported that CMS is taking steps to address. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve the measurement of nursing home quality, the Administrator of CMS should establish and implement a clear plan for ongoing auditing to ensure reliability of data self-reported by nursing homes, including payroll-based staffing data and data used to calculate clinical quality measures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and in September 2017 reported that CMS is taking steps to address. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure modifications of CMS's oversight activities do not adversely affect the agency's ability to assess nursing home quality and that effective modifications are adopted more widely, the Administrator of CMS should establish a process for monitoring modifications of essential oversight activities made at the CMS central office, CMS regional office, and state survey agency levels to better understand the effects on nursing home quality oversight.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and in September 2017 reported that CMS is taking steps to address. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by working with OMB to describe on Performance.gov how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated in a memorandum to agency heads that reporting on Performance.gov concerning the previous Administration's priority goals is suspended through the end of fiscal year 2017. The OMB Director stated that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor the Department of Agriculture's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by working with OMB to describe on Performance.gov how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated in a memorandum to agency heads that reporting on Performance.gov concerning the previous Administration's priority goals is suspended through the end of fiscal year 2017. The OMB Director stated that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor the Department of Defense's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by working with OMB to describe on Performance.gov how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated in a memorandum to agency heads that reporting on Performance.gov concerning the previous Administration's priority goals is suspended through the end of fiscal year 2017. The OMB Director stated that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor the Department of the Interior's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by working with OMB to describe on Performance.gov how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: Labor officials informed us that they had planned to address this recommendation by using a data quality self-assessment pilot they had conducted with component agencies that support Labor's priority goals. Labor had described its plans for this pilot in its fiscal year 2015 performance report and a link is provided from Performance.gov to agencies' performance plans and reports. Labor officials told us they described the results of this pilot in their draft fiscal year 2016 performance report, but according to Labor officials were advised by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff to deemphasize the priority goals and thus they dropped this section from the published performance report. On June 15, 2017, the Director of OMB stated in a memorandum to agency heads that reporting on Performance.gov concerning the previous Administration's priority goals is suspended through the end of fiscal year 2017. The OMB Director stated that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor Labor's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by describing in their agencies' annual performance plans and reports how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) annual performance report for fiscal year 2016 and performance plan for fiscal year 2018 continues to provide a general statement on how the agency uses a standardized methodology to measure its performance and that agency officials attest to the quality of the performance information. However, USDA does not provide more specific explanation of how it is ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the performance information used to measure progress on the priority goals the agency identified for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget stated in a memorandum to agency heads that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by describing in their agencies' annual performance plans and reports how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense's (DOD) performance report for fiscal year 2016 continues to state that performance goal owners are expected to attest that their performance data is complete, accurate, and reliable. However, the report does not provide more specific explanation for individual priority goals. On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget stated in a memorandum to agency heads that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by describing in their agencies' annual performance plans and reports how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior's 2017/2018 Annual Performance Plan & 2016 Report (APP&R) includes a section concerning data accuracy and reliability and describes in general terms how Interior ensures the accuracy and reliability of performance information and how it addresses the five data quality requirements in the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010(GPRAMA). However, Interior does not provide more specific explanation for individual priority goals. For example, Interior states that the source of performance information are program managers, but does not provide more specific explanation of how the agency obtains performance information for priority goals that address a diverse array of issues, such as assisting Indian tribes, addressing climate change, and managing oil and gas resources. In September 2016, we provided feedback to Interior officials, at their request, and suggested they provide more specific data quality explanation. On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget stated in a memorandum to agency heads that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor Interior's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting about how agencies are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their priority goals, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Labor, and the Administrator of NASA should more fully address GPRAMA requirements and OMB guidance by describing in their agencies' annual performance plans and reports how they are ensuring the quality of performance information used to measure progress towards their APGs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: On June 15, 2017, Labor officials informed us that they had planned to address this recommendation by using a data quality self-assessment pilot they had conducted with component agencies that support Labor's priority goals. Labor had described its plans for this pilot in its fiscal year 2015 performance report. Labor officials told us they described the results of this pilot in their draft fiscal year 2016 performance report, but according to Labor officials were advised by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff to deemphasize the priority goals and thus they dropped this section from the published performance report. On June 15, 2017, the Director of OMB stated in a memorandum to agency heads that reporting on Performance.gov concerning the previous Administration's priority goals is suspended through the end of fiscal year 2017. The OMB Director stated that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor Labor's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help participating agencies improve their public reporting, the Director of OMB, working with the PIC Executive Director, should identify additional changes that need to be made in OMB's guidance to agencies related to ensuring the quality of performance information for APGs on Performance.gov.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: On June 15, 2017, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated in a memorandum to agency heads that reporting on Performance.gov concerning the previous Administration's priority goals is suspended through the end of fiscal year 2017. The OMB Director stated that priority goals are intended to focus efforts toward achieving the priorities of the current political leadership and that new goals would be established when the President's fiscal year 2019 Budget is released. We will continue to monitor OMB's efforts to address our recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to improve the Army Reserve's and the Army National Guard's internal control procedures to ensure that individual soldier availability information in each data system is complete, accurate, and timely by increasing the scope and frequency of data quality reviews at the unit and national levels to address issues resulting from self-reporting and inaccurate inputs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop and implement ways that the Army reserve components can facilitate timely updates of availability data between all data systems through the current system interfaces to improve the relevance and value of the data that management is using to make soldier availability-related decisions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop a plan with timelines and take actions accordingly to address the backlog of Line of Duty investigations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise the Line of Duty program regulation to include procedures that would address implementation challenges that contribute to delays in the processing of Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers' claims of incurring service-connected injuries and illnesses, such as by including the identification of and procedures to address non-compliance by soldiers, and take steps to expeditiously issue that revised program regulation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.,
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen oversight of the individual shared responsibility and premium tax credit provisions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should assess whether or not the data received from the health insurance marketplaces are sufficiently complete and accurate to enable effective correction of tax returns at-filing based on matching with the marketplace data and, if the assessment determines that such corrections would be effective, seek legislative authority to correct tax returns at-filing based on the marketplace data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agreed with GAO's recommendation. IRS reports that the quality of data submitted by health insurance marketplaces has improved since the 2015 return filing season, and it continues to use its correspondence process for resolving discrepancies between marketplace data and that reported by the taxpayer after the return has been filed. IRS has not considered requesting legislative authority to correct tax returns at the time of filing based specifically on discrepancies between the data submitted by the health insurance marketplace and reported by the taxpayer. Agency officials believe that would be premature at this time. They noted that a broader legislative initiative has already been proposed that would grant IRS with correctable error authority in cases where the information provided by the taxpayer does not match the information contained in government databases. Should this broad authority be granted in the future, IRS will then consider how to approach correction of tax returns at the time of filing based on discrepancies with health insurance marketplace data. Such authority was also included in the Administration's 2018 budget.
    Recommendation: To strengthen oversight of the individual shared responsibility and premium tax credit provisions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should work with CMS to get the total amount of advance PTC paid for the 2014 tax year and establish, as a baseline, the aggregate amount of the gap between advance PTC paid and advance PTC reported for the 2014 tax year, and track this aggregate gap for future tax years to help in evaluating the effectiveness of IRS's PTC education and compliance efforts.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agreed with GAO's recommendation in part. As one of the ongoing efforts by the IRS to evaluate the effectiveness of its implementation of the premium tax credit (PTC) provision for tax year 2014, IRS plans to perform as analysis of reporting of advance payments of the PTC by the Marketplaces. The results of this analysis and other efforts will help inform the IRS of potential areas for improvement in education, tax filing and compliance activities. IRS has been tracking the amount of advance PTC paid based on summary data provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 2014 and 2015 as well as the gap between the amounts paid compared to the amount reported by taxpayers. However, IRS has not yet resolved all issues with CMS related to properly allocating all payments to 2014 and 2015. Complete data for 2016 are not yet available.
    Recommendation: To strengthen oversight of the individual shared responsibility and premium tax credit provisions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should evaluate IRS efforts to collaborate and communicate with key external stakeholders to inform efforts related to implementation of the new 2015 PPACA requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agreed with GAO's recommendation but has not yet initiated an evaluation of collaboration and communication efforts with external stakeholders. IRS currently utilizes informal feedback processes to share information and identify opportunities for improvement with external stakeholders in implementing the shared responsibility payment and premium tax credit provisions. We continue to encourage IRS to evaluate its collaboration and communication efforts.
    Director: James C. Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve CMS's process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, the Administrator of CMS should better document the process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, including the methods used to review RUC recommendations and the rationale for final relative value decisions.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: To help improve the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's (CMS) process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, in May 2015 we recommended that the Administrator of CMS better document the process, including the methods used to review recommendations from the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) and the rationale for final relative value decisions. CMS concurred with this recommendation, stating that CMS establishes relative values for new, revised, and potentially misvalued physicians' services based on its review of a variety of sources of information, including the RUC. CMS officials told us the agency continues to improve the transparency of its process by proposing and finalizing changes to the process in the annual rule for the Physician Fee Schedule. Officials also told us that the agency is developing a means of displaying the direct practice expense inputs component of relative values in a consistent manner that will allow for greater transparency and documentation of the process, since currently the RUC recommends direct practice expense inputs to CMS through inconsistent formats that are not conducive to public transparency. Officials estimated that this process will take several years to complete. In order to close this recommendation as implemented, CMS will need to demonstrate that it has improved its internal and external documentation of its process for establishing relative values. As of August 2016, CMS has not provided any additional information about actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve CMS's process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, the Administrator of CMS should develop a process for informing the public of potentially misvalued services identified by the RUC, as CMS already does for potentially misvalued services identified by CMS or other stakeholders.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: To help improve the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's (CMS) process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, in May 2015 we recommended that the Administrator of CMS develop a process for informing the public of potentially misvalued services identified by the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), as CMS already does for potentially misvalued services identified by CMS or other stakeholders. CMS did not concur with this recommendation, asserting that the RUC is completely independent of CMS, and as such CMS has no authority to set the RUC's agenda for which services are reviewed. CMS reiterated their non-concurrence in February 2016. CMS officials noted that they recognize that some stakeholders, including those who are not participants in the RUC process, may not be aware of the new, revised, and potentially misvalued services that are under review by CMS prior to the establishment of interim final values in a final rule. For this reason and others, CMS proposed and finalized a change in its process for establishing or revising relative values for new, revised, or potentially misvalued services. Beginning in 2016, CMS will begin including proposed values for some of services in the annual proposed rulemaking for the Physician Fee Schedule, which means that the changes in values for these services will be open for public comment prior to them being finalized. In 2017, changes in values for almost all services will be included in the proposed rule for the Physician Fee Schedule. We continue to believe that CMS needs to inform the public of potentially misvalued services identified by the RUC, as the agency does for potentially misvalued services identified by other stakeholders for review. While the elimination of most interim final values in 2017 will allow stakeholders to comment on values before they become effective, we believe it is still important for CMS to inform stakeholders of those services identified by the RUC as potentially misvalued before CMS received RUC recommendations for these services and subsequently publishes the values in the proposed rule each year. Doing so would give stakeholders more time to provide input on values for services if they so choose before CMS included its proposed values in the annual proposed rulemaking, and we worded our recommendation to allow CMS to determine how to inform stakeholders of these services without delaying the timing of its revision of misvalued services.
    Recommendation: To help improve CMS's process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, the Administrator of CMS should incorporate data and expertise from physicians and other relevant stakeholders into the process as well as develop a timeline and plan for using the funds appropriated by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: To help improve the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's (CMS) process for establishing relative values for Medicare physicians' services, in May 2015 we recommended that the Administrator of CMS incorporate data and expertise from physicians and other relevant stakeholders into the process, as well as develop a timeline and plan for using the funds appropriated by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA). CMS concurred with this recommendation, stating that stakeholders have the opportunity each year to nominate potentially misvalued services for review through a public nomination process. In order to develop a timeline and plan for using the funds appropriated by PAMA, CMS is assessing the research conducted by two external contractors to determine the most effective and fiscally responsible way to use the funds. This work is ongoing, and CMS is using this work to understand the data collection limitations that exist and help inform the development of a timeline for the use of PAMA funds. CMS anticipates releasing a contract solicitation prior to the end of the calendar year. In order to close this recommendation as implemented, CMS will need to demonstrate that it has incorporated data and expertise from relevant stakeholders and has developed a timeline and plan for using the funds appropriated by PAMA. As of August 2016, CMS has not provided any additional information about actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Seto J. Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve efforts to limit improper payments, including fraud, in the Medicaid program, the Acting Administrator of CMS should provide guidance to states on the availability of automated information through Medicare's enrollment database--the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS)--and full access to all pertinent PECOS information, such as ownership information, to help screen Medicaid providers more efficiently and effectively.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS considers this recommendation closed because they provide states with training and direct access to PECOS on an ongoing basis. Additionally, CMS also makes Medicare Enrollment data available to states through custom data extracts. We do not consider this action sufficient to close the recommendation, to provide states information on the availability of automated information through PECOS. For example, custom extracts do not constitute automated information containing all information in PECOS states need to screen providers in Medicaid. Additionally, the states the we interviewed for our study were not aware that custom extracts were available. CMS should provide guidance to state Medicaid programs that this information is available until fully automated access to PECOS is available. We reached out to CMS about the status of this recommendation. As of May 2017, we have not received a response. We will continue to monitor progress on this recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the military whistleblower reprisal investigation process and oversight of such investigations, the Secretary of Defense should work in coordination with the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) to direct the services to follow standardized investigation stages and issue guidance clarifying how the stages are defined.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, this recommendation remains open. Officials from DOD Inspector General, Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations Directorate provided GAO with an update to this recommendation August 11, 2016. Although DOD concurred with this recommendation in the draft and final report, they stated that DODIG is not empowered in its oversight capacity to direct the services to follow standardized stages. However, these same officials noted that they are currently working with the military services through an established working group to standardize investigation stages and develop guidance for its implementation across the services by the end of 2016. If completed, we believe that these actions will meet the intent of our recommendation by helping to DODIG to better ensure consistent program implementation and equal treatment of all servicemember complaints.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve the ability of U.S. government agencies and others to assess the timeliness of U.S. security assistance to Yemen, the Secretary of Defense should take steps to improve the accuracy of data used to track when Section 1206 projects are congressionally cleared for implementation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD officials indicated that they will correct the historical congressional notification clearance data for Yemen and ensure it is correct going forward, with the goal of having correct data by May, 2015. They also noted there is a policy in place requiring the congressional notification clearance date entered into the database to be drawn from the e-mail from the DOD Comptroller's office indicating the clearance date. In order to correct the historical data, DOD will try to find documents showing the actual clearance dates, but when those are unavailable, DOD will add fifteen days to the date of the congressional notification. As of June 2017, DOD had not provided documentation in response to our requests for a status update regarding this recommendation. We will monitor these efforts to determine when they have been completed.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve its production verification efforts and to increase communication among the bureau's staff with specialized knowledge on oil and gas measurement issues, improve the consistency and efficiency in both onshore and offshore measurement issues, and ensure that Interior continues the ongoing responsibilities outlined in our prior recommendations, the Secretary of the Interior should ensure the team meets in accordance with the provisions in the revised charter.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2016, officials stated that Interior had updated the Gas and Oil Measurement Team's charter. The charter, which was signed in December 2015, requires that the team meet at least twice per year. The charter further requires that the team is to periodically report progress of ongoing work to the newly established Interior oversight entity, the Onshore and Offshore Coordinating Committee. Interior provided documentation indicating that the team has met once since the charter was signed, with a meeting held in March 2016.
    Recommendation: To further improve its production verification efforts and to provide greater assurance that BLM staff are consistently applying the new guidance to commingling agreement requests and determine whether the guidance corrected deficiencies and produced improvements, the Secretary should direct BLM to schedule and complete the internal review as expeditiously as possible.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Interior officials stated that once the new gas measurement regulations are finalized and implemented, BLM will conduct the internal review.
    Director: Kingsbury, Nancy R
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure contractors receive security awareness training within 5 business days of being granted access to an IRS information system.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: During the audit of IRS' FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had not yet implemented this recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented this recommendation, we will review its actions.
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure that control testing methodology and results fully meet the intent of the control objectives being tested.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: During the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it has not completed these actions. When IRS indicates that it has implemented the recommendation, we will evaluate the effectiveness of its actions.
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update the remedial action verification process to ensure actions are fully implemented.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: During the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it has not completed actions to implement the recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented the recommendation, we will evaluate the effectiveness of its actions.
    Director: Mike Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to establish guidelines on what constitutes a "current" ACAT II or III program for reporting purposes; the types of programs, if any, that do not require ACAT designations; and whether the rules for identifying current MDAPs would be appropriate for ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review existing policies and determine whether they needed to be altered or supplemented to facilitate data collection and reporting on ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to determine what metrics should be used and what data should be collected on ACAT II and III programs to measure cost and schedule performance; and whether the use of DAMIR and the MDAP selected acquisition report format may be appropriate for collecting data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics reviewed information on DOD component efforts to collect data on the cost and schedule performance of ACAT II and III programs and stated that it does not plan to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to assess the reliability of data collected on ACAT II and III programs and work with PEOs to develop a strategy to improve procedures for the entry and maintenance of data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components evaluate the data they collect on ACAT II and III programs, report on their assessment of the data's reliability, and provide an update on their plans to improve the availability and quality of the data. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to develop implementation plans to coordinate and execute component initiatives to improve data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, but the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force and Commander of SOCOM to establish a mechanism to ensure compliance with APB requirements in DOD policy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review their mechanisms for establishing and enforcing the APB requirements for all ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to improve component procedures for notifying the Defense Acquisition Executive of programs with a cost estimate within 10 percent of ACAT I cost thresholds.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency partially concurred with this recommendation. The Army and Navy have reiterated existing guidance and the Air Force is evaluating additional actions it might take to improve its notification procedures.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve disposition reporting that would help states update and complete criminal history records, the Director of the FBI should task the FBI Advisory Policy Board to establish a plan with time frames and milestones for achieving its Disposition Task Force's stated goals.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better equip states to meet the regulatory requirement to notify individuals of their rights to challenge and update information in their criminal history records, and to ensure that audit findings are resolved, the Director of the FBI--in coordination with the Compact Council-- should determine why states do not comply with the requirement to notify applicants and use this information to revise its state educational programs accordingly.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the federal government's and states' investments in information systems result in outcomes that are effective in supporting efforts to save funds through the prevention and detection of improper payments in the Medicaid program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to require states to measure quantifiable benefits, such as cost reductions or avoidance, achieved as a result of operating information systems to help prevent and detect improper payments. Such measurement of benefits should reflect a consistent and repeatable approach and should be reported when requesting approval for matching federal funds to support ongoing operation and maintenance of systems that were implemented to support Medicaid program integrity purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on our report, agency officials agreed with this recommendation and provided information on CMS's plans to use a template to track cost savings resulting from state Medicaid offices' use of information systems for program integrity purposes. In April 2017, CMS officials said that they were no longer planning to use the template to gather information from the states, because of the varied approaches that states take to implement systems support for program integrity purposes. The officials stated that they are developing an alternative approach for capturing this information from the states, which will be provided to us when completed. We will continue to monitor CMS's progress toward addressing the recommendation.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure data required by IMBRA are collected, maintained, and reliable, the Director of USCIS should ensure that IMBRA-required data elements will be collected in an automated manner with the release of the electronic I-129F petition.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2015, USCIS reported that it expected to start development for the electronic I-129F petition in March 2016. As of March 2016, USCIS officials confirmed that the electronic I-129F petition is tied to the Family-Based Adjustment of Status (AOS) product line for USCIS ELIS. USCIS officials stated that, as of March 2016, the requirements-gathering phase for this product line is underway and, as of June 2016, USCIS began the requirements-gathering phase. In October 2016, the Office of Transformation Coordination reported that there have been some delays in the product line that includes the I-129F petition and the tentative expected completion date is the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. To fully implement this recommendation, USCIS should ensure that IMBRA-required data elements are collected in an automated manner with the release of the electronic I-129F petition.
    Director: Cary B Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD to improve the overall management of shipping containers for current and future contingencies, and to more fully incorporate recommendations into its policy and guidance and to ensure that improvements to container management will be sustained for future contingencies, the Secretary of Defense should develop a comprehensive list of recommendations made by DOD agencies and other organizations, and make the information available for policymakers to incorporate, as appropriate, into new or existing container-management policy and guidance. DOD could use our work as a starting point for this assessment.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and requested that GAO provide a listing of the recommendations we identified during this review to use as a starting point for its assessment. After we provided the listing of 95 recommendations, DOD added an additional 7 recommendations DOD identified through an independent assessment from the Institute for Defense Analysis. DOD then reviewed each of the recommendations for Departmental-level policy and guidance implications. As a result, after we completed our review in 2014, the Department has been making improvements in container management. For example, according to a DOD official, the department is revising DOD Instruction 4500.57, "Transportation and Traffic Management" to include specific container management responsibilities for combatant commanders, provisions for use of intermodal containers during contingency operations, container management definitions, and policy on use of the Joint Container Management System. Additionally, the Campaign Plan for Global Distribution 9033 is being revised to require each geographic combatant command to publish a Theater Distribution Plan and provides a standardized template to promote uniformity. Finally, according to DOD officials, the Universal Services Contract for sealift includes provisions for container detention and buyouts that are more favorable to the Government in reducing detention costs. As of September 2017, DOD has made progress toward implementation. For example, the department revised DOD Instruction 4500.57 "Transportation and Traffic Management" in March 2017 and included specific container management responsibilities for combatant commanders, provisions for use of intermodal containers during contingency operations, container management definitions, and policy on use of the Joint Container Management System. Also, DOD updated the Universal Services Contract 8 in January 2016 with provisions such as lower container buyout costs that are more favorable to the government in reducing costs than the contract from the prior year. Currently, the department's draft global campaign plan that includes commanders' responsibilities for managing containers is awaiting final approval. GAO is awaiting additional information from DOD such as other provisions in the container management contract that will assist the government in reducing costs, and final approval of DOD's plan.
    Director: James R. White
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider providing the Secretary of the Treasury with the regulatory authority to lower the threshold for electronic filing of W-2s from 250 returns annually to between 5 to 10 returns, as appropriate.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no legislative action identified. Lowering the threshold would help IRS prevent identity theft refund fraud by enhancing its ability to verify the employment information reported on tax returns before issuing refunds. Additionally, lowering the threshold would reduce the Social Security Administration's administrative costs of processing W-2 information.
    Recommendation: To provide timely, accurate, and actionable feedback to all relevant lead-generating third parties, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should provide aggregated information on (1) the success of external party leads in identifying suspicious returns and (2) emerging trends (pursuant to section 6103 restrictions).

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken steps to address GAO's August 2014 recommendation, including developing timeliness metrics for managing leads and holding six feedback sessions with financial institutions participating in the External Leads Program, but had not provided GAO with documentation that the agency is providing meaningful feedback to external parties. In November 2015, IRS reported that it had developed a database to track leads submitted by financial institutions and the results of those leads. IRS also stated that it had held six sessions with financial institutions to provide feedback on external leads provided to IRS. These quarterly feedback sessions contained various types of information, including overall statistics for the External Leads Program, individual statistics tailored to a specific external party, and solicitations for how to improve the program. In December 2015, IRS officials stated that the agency sent a customer satisfaction survey asking financial institutions for feedback on the external leads process and was considering other ways to provide feedback to financial institutions. In August 2016, an industry group representing financial institutions reported that IRS had not begun providing meaningful feedback to financial institutions that are providing leads to IRS. In March 2017, IRS officials told us they were holding more frequent, monthly, feedback sessions with financial institutions. GAO will follow up with financial institutions to understand the extent to which IRS's feedback has been timely and is actionable. Without accurate, timely, and actionable feedback, the more than 600 external parties participating in the External Leads Program do not know if the leads they provide to IRS are useful and they may not be able to assess their success in identifying IDT refund fraud or improve their detection tools.
    Recommendation: To provide timely, accurate, and actionable feedback to all relevant lead-generating third parties, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a set of metrics to track external leads by the submitting third party.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken steps to address GAO's August 2014 recommendation, including developing timeliness metrics for managing leads and holding six feedback sessions with financial institutions participating in the External Leads Program, but had not provided GAO with documentation that the agency is providing meaningful feedback to external parties. In November 2015, IRS reported that it had developed a database to track leads submitted by financial institutions and the results of those leads. IRS also stated that it had held six sessions with financial institutions to provide feedback on external leads provided to IRS. These quarterly feedback sessions contained various types of information, including overall statistics for the External Leads Program, individual statistics tailored to a specific external party, and solicitations for how to improve the program. In December 2015, IRS officials stated that the agency sent a customer satisfaction survey asking financial institutions for feedback on the external leads process and was considering other ways to provide feedback to financial institutions. In August 2016, an industry group representing financial institutions reported that IRS had not begun providing meaningful feedback to financial institutions that are providing leads to IRS. In March 2017, IRS officials told us they were holding more frequent, monthly, feedback sessions with financial institutions. GAO will follow up with financial institutions to understand the extent to which IRS's feedback has been timely and is actionable. Without accurate, timely, and actionable feedback, the more than 600 external parties participating in the External Leads Program do not know if the leads they provide to IRS are useful and they may not be able to assess their success in identifying IDT refund fraud or improve their detection tools.
    Director: Steve Lord
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the quality of the data collected on specific land-use agreements (i.e., sharing, outleases, licenses, and permits), enhance the monitoring of its revenue process and monitoring of agreements, and improve the accountability of the VA in this area, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop mechanisms to monitor the billing and collection of revenues for land-use agreements to help ensure that transactions are promptly and accurately recorded at the three medical centers.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: Veterans Affairs-Veterans Health Administration officials are currently updating their policies on Sharing Use of Space. Veterans Affairs-Veterans Health Administration Office of Enterprise Management will provide support to the agency's office of Finance, as needed, on the process for recognition of revenue, billing, collections, and for financial reporting to ensure completeness of financial data for land use agreements. Agency officials began working on the Capital Asset Inventory validation report. Upon completion, the report will be provided to agency field staff for action on updating the database.
    Director: James Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that MA encounter data are of sufficient quality for their intended purposes, the Administrator of CMS should establish specific plans and time frames for using the data for all intended purposes in addition to risk adjusting payments to MAOs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS was in general agreement with this recommendation. In January 2017 we reported that CMS had made progress in defining its objectives for using MA encounter data for risk adjustment and in communicating its plans and time frames to MAOs. However, although CMS had formed general ideas of how it would use MA encounter data for purposes other than risk adjustment, it had not specified plans and time frames for most of the additional purposes for which encounter data may be used. These other purposes include activities to support program integrity. As of July 2017, CMS officials told us that the agency had not taken any further actions in response to this July 2014 recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that MA encounter data are of sufficient quality for their intended purposes, the Administrator of CMS should complete all the steps necessary to validate the data, including performing statistical analyses, reviewing medical records, and providing MAOs with summary reports on CMS's findings, before using the data to risk adjust payments or for other intended purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: While in general agreement with this recommendation, HHS did not commit to completing data validation before using MA encounter data for risk adjustment. In January 2017 we reported that CMS had made limited progress toward validating encounter data by having begun compiling basic statistics on the volume and consistency of data submissions and preparing automated summary reports for MAOs indicating the diagnosis information used for risk adjustment. However the agency had not yet taken other important steps identified in its Medicaid encounter data validation protocol, such as establishing benchmarks for completeness and accuracy. In July 2017, CMS officials told us that the agency had not taken any further actions in response to this July 2014 recommendation.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions to the USASpending.gov website, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with Treasury's Fiscal Service, should clarify guidance on (1) agency responsibilities for reporting awards funded by non-annual appropriations; (2) the applicability of USASpending.gov reporting requirements to non-classified awards associated with intelligence operations; (3) the requirement that award titles describe the award's purpose (consistent with our prior recommendation); and (4) agency maintenance of authoritative records adequate to verify the accuracy of required data reported for use by USASpending.gov.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of July 2017, OMB and Treasury were working to implement the DATA Act, which includes several provisions that may address these recommendations once fully implemented. 1) OMB staff said they continue to deliberate on agency responsibilities for reporting awards funded by non-annual appropriations. 2) OMB staff provided a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) addressing the applicability of USASpending.gov reporting requirements for recipient information related to classified or sensitive information. GAO reviewed the FAQ and determined that additional guidance is still needed to ensure complete reporting of unclassified awards as required by FFATA. 3) OMB staff have agreed that it will be important to clarify guidance on how agencies can report on award titles that appropriately describes the awards' purposes and noted that they are working on providing additional guidance to agencies as part of their larger DATA Act implementation efforts. 4) OMB released policy guidance in May 2016 (MPM 2016-03) that identifies the authoritative sources for reporting procurement and award data. However, GAO's review of this policy guidance determined that it does not address the underlying source that can be used to verify the accuracy of non-financial procurement data or any source for data on assistance awards.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions to the USASpending.gov website, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with Treasury's Fiscal Service, should develop and implement a government-wide oversight process to regularly assess the consistency of information reported by federal agencies to the website other than the award amount.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As part of their DATA Act implementation efforts, OMB issued policy guidance in May 2016 (MPM 2016-03) that identifies authoritative systems to validate agency spending information. The guidance also directs agency DATA Act Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) to provide a quarterly assurance regarding the data reported to USASpending.gov and specifies that this assurance should leverage data quality and management controls established in statute, regulation, and Federal-wide policy and be aligned with the internal control and risk management strategies in Circular A-123, and provides information on how agency DATA Act SAOs are to provide assurances over the spending data reported to USASpending.gov. In addition, Treasury's broker is to provide an additional set of validation rules to further ensure the proper formatting of data submitted to USAspending.gov. OMB staff noted that OMB and Treasury had prioritized the linking of financial data to award data as a means of addressing the issue of unreported awards we previously identified. We agree that linking financial and award data can help agencies identify gaps in reporting. However, as of July 2017, OMB did not identify any new or revised processes aimed at addressing the accuracy concerns we addressed other than citing agencies' responsibility to certify the accuracy of their data.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness of foreign recipient data on the USASpending.gov website, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation should direct responsible officials within the Corporation's Department of Administration and Finance to report spending information on all assistance award programs to USASpending.gov for prior and future fiscal years in accordance with statutory requirements and OMB guidance.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Millennium Challenge Corporation has begun reporting awards made in fiscal year 2015. As of July 2017, it has not yet reported awards for previous fiscal years, as we had recommended. We will continue to follow up.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    4 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider expanding the mandate for partnerships and corporations to electronically file their tax returns to cover a greater share of filed returns.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No legislation enacted as of March 2017. Current law requires entities that file more than 250 returns during a year or partnerships with more than 100 partners to file electronically. A bill has been introduced in Congress, S. 3178, which would gradually lower the threshold to 20 returns. Requiring greater digitization of tax return information, as GAO suggested in May 2014, would help the Internal Revenue Service identify which partnership and S corporation tax returns would be most productive to examine. Improving IRS's selection of partnership and S corporation returns to examine would also benefit compliant taxpayers whose returns may otherwise be selected for examination. Further, expanded e-filing would reduce IRS's tax return processing costs.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop and implement a strategy to better estimate (1) the extent and nature of partnership misreporting, and (2) the effectiveness of partnership examinations in detecting this misreporting.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, IRS had initiated the Partnership Research Study (PRS). PRS is a smaller scale version of IRS's originally planed National Research Program (NRP) study for partnerships. IRS decided to conduct the smaller scale study because of resource constraints (the NRP study would have required IRS to audit 10,000 partnership tax returns, which is more than all the partnership returns that IRS normally audits in the course of a year; through PRS IRS plans to audit about 2,000 returns). PRS will be similar to an NRP study in that there are mandatory issues that will be audited, and stringent requirements for surveying (dismissing) examinations. IRS has started auditing 1,750 returns and will begin auditing 500 more returns starting in November. IRS is hopeful that PRS will allow it to determine (1) whether the differences in examination rates across different types of business entities are justified, and (2) whether an improved tool for selecting partnerships for examination, such as an updated partnership discriminant function, should be developed.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should use the better information on noncompliance and program effectiveness to determine (1) whether the differences in examination rates across different types of business entities are justified, and (2) whether an improved tool for selecting partnerships for examination, such as an updated partnership discriminant function, should be developed.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, IRS had initiated the Partnership Research Study (PRS). PRS is a smaller scale version of IRS's originally planed National Research Program (NRP) study for partnerships. IRS decided to conduct the smaller scale study because of resource constraints (the NRP study would have required IRS to audit 10,000 partnership tax returns, which is more than all the partnership returns that IRS normally audits in the course of a year; through PRS IRS plans to audit about 2,000 returns). PRS will be similar to an NRP study in that there are mandatory issues that will be audited, and stringent requirements for surveying (dismissing) examinations. IRS has started auditing 1,750 returns and will begin auditing 500 more returns starting in November. IRS is hopeful that PRS will allow it to determine (1) whether the differences in examination rates across different types of business entities are justified, and (2) whether an improved tool for selecting partnerships for examination, such as an updated partnership discriminant function, should be developed.
    Recommendation: While IRS works to improve the quality of its Schedule K-1 data, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a plan for conducting testing or other analysis to determine whether the improved Schedule K-1 data, perhaps combined with other IRS information about businesses and taxpayers, could be used more effectively to ensure compliance with the reporting of flow-through income.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS stated that it understands the objective of this recommendation and, at such time that resources are available to enhance capabilities, it would consider the proposed methodology of advanced testing. However, based on current and anticipated budget constraints, it does not expect its plans to change in the near future.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist the Corps in preparing sound and credible cost estimates for soliciting bids for hopper dredge work by industry, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Corps of Engineers to develop a written plan for conducting a study to obtain and periodically update data on hopper dredging costs for its cost estimates, including reliable data on industry hopper dredge equipment and labor rates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, Corps officials reported that they met with private industry officials in August 2016 to obtain updated information on the private dredge fleet, including information on private vessel upgrades. This information could help inform their cost estimates, according to the officials. The Corps has not developed a written plan for conducting a study to obtain and periodically update data on hopper dredging costs for Corps cost estimates and in October 2015 indicated that it was difficult to obtain industry-wide cost data for hopper dredges. Specifically, the Corps said that hopper dredges are unique vessels manufactured to individual company specifications, with unique components and operating costs. The Corps stated it intended to work with the dredging industry to obtain the latest hopper dredge cost information available and would update its cost and pricing data for preparing cost estimates based on that information.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To effectively implement key components of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update access request policies and procedures to ensure that they contain sufficiently detailed information of access requests and access assignments to facilitate effective review and verification of appropriate access privileges.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: At the beginning of GAO's audit of IRS' FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had not yet implemented this recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented this recommendation, we will review its actions.
    Director: Zina D.Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of data exchanges between LMP and other service ammunition systems, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, should direct the Secretary of the Navy to (1) take steps to incorporate Defense Logistics Management Standards (DLMS) into the Ordnance Information System and (2) direct the Commandant of the Marine Corps to take similar steps with regard to the Ordnance Information System-Marine Corps.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy and Marine Corps have taken steps to incorporate Defense Logistics Management Standards into their ammunition information systems -- Ordnance Information System and Ordnance Information System-Marine Corps, respectively. The Navy has provided some documentation, and the Marine Corps has stated that it would provide documentation in the near future as well.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance its oversight of drug shortages, particularly as the agency fine-tunes the manner in which it gathers data on shortages and transitions from its database to a more robust system, the Commissioner of FDA should conduct periodic analyses using the existing drug shortages database (and, eventually, the new drug shortages information system) to routinely and systematically assess drug shortage information, and use this information proactively to identify risk factors for potential drug shortages early, thereby potentially helping FDA to recognize trends, clarify causes, and resolve problems before drugs go into short supply.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, FDA reported that it had not conducted any rigorous analysis of predictors of drug shortages nor have new drug risk factors been identified. Although FDA adopted a new, commercially developed data system, the "Shortage Tracker" to track drug shortages in March 2016, it is used to help the Drug Shortage Staff manage their workload. FDA reported that this system has now been fully operational for over a year. However, no trend analysis relating to drug shortages has been conducted and the agency has no plans to conduct such analyses at this time.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As part of the development of a national maritime strategy and a national freight strategic plan, the Secretary of Transportation should direct MARAD--in consultation with maritime industry stakeholders--to study and identify any potential problems in ensuring that U.S. mariners are adequately trained to meet the needs of the entire maritime industry, including the domestic waterways. Public forums, such as MARAD's roundtable discussions, could serve as a means for gaining industry input on potential training issues.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: On April 7, 2017 GAO requested an update on the status of MARAD's position on whether or not the recommendation would be implemented. In June 2016, MARAD indicated that it had not made this determination. In response to GAO's latest inquiry, MARAD indicated that it was in the process of checking on whether any action had been taken within the agency to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    17 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should revise guidance on computer matching to clarify whether front-end verification queries are covered by the Computer Matching Act.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should direct agencies to address all key elements when preparing cost-benefit analyses.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should ensure that agencies receive assistance in implementing computer matching programs as envisioned by the act.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on the agency's computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Education should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received sufficient information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information needed to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Administrator of Social Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To take advantage of opportunities to collect UCMR data on additional unregulated contaminants, Congress should consider amending SDWA to give EPA the flexibility to select more than 30 contaminants for monitoring under the UCMR program if high-priority contaminants, such as those on the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) or contaminants of emerging concern, can be included at minimal cost, with minimal additional burden on public water systems, and while using analytical methods that EPA is already employing.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, Congress has not taken action to address this matter; we will continue to monitor actions and provide updated information when it becomes available.
    Recommendation: To optimize the ability of the UCMR data to support regulatory determinations, Congress should consider adjusting the statutory time frames for the UCMR and regulatory determinations cycles so that EPA can use the UCMR data to support regulatory determinations in the same cycle.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, Congress has not taken action to address this matter; we will continue to monitor actions and provide updated information when it becomes available.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USPS's capital investment process related to USPS policy and consistent application of leading practices, the Postmaster General and executive leaders should establish a time frame for developing a clear, detailed, single-source, standard set of policies and procedures that reflect the capital investment selection phase.

    Agency: United States Postal Service: Office of the Postmaster General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) informed GAO that its Handbook F-66 General Investment Policies and Procedures is undergoing revisions that will make the capital investment selection process more clear, detailed, and standardized. The revised draft of the F-66 handbook is currently in the review and clearance process and may be finalized in 2017. USPS added that it will inform GAO of further updates as they develop.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USPS's capital investment process related to USPS policy and consistent application of leading practices, the Postmaster General and executive leaders should modify capital investment policies to more closely align with the following leading practices, including: (1) for planning capital investments, consider whether an external entity could better support all or part of a desired function when evaluating alternative capital investment options; (2) for selecting capital investments, use a portfolio approach for developing business cases and finalizing and allocating resources; and (3) for evaluating capital investments, seek and leverage external oversight and review, from a consultant or peer reviewer, and require that best practices and lessons learned be incorporated into the review process.

    Agency: United States Postal Service: Office of the Postmaster General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, USPS informed GAO and provided documentation that its Handbook F-66 General Investment Policies and Procedures is to incorporate all leading practices. The F-66, however, is not yet finalized. In particular, the draft F-66 states that for planning investments, USPS is to conduct an analysis to identify the most economically beneficial resolution to a problem--the alternative that will result in the highest net present value, lowest costs, or greatest savings. For selecting investments, USPS is to use a portfolio approach organized by agency goals, sub-goals, indicators, and targets. For evaluating investments, USPS is to evaluate the need to hire consultants when applicable to assess the investment. The revised F-66 indicates that USPS will also is require project managers to submit an analysis of investment performance and lessons learned as part of its post-deployment steps.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USPS's capital investment process related to USPS policy and consistent application of leading practices, the Postmaster General and executive leaders should regularly examine the extent to which executives and program managers consistently follow all leading practices, particularly for: (1) identifying problems and reassessing risk while managing a project; and (2) evaluating the cost, schedule, and performance results of completed projects.

    Agency: United States Postal Service: Office of the Postmaster General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, USPS informed GAO and provided documentation that its revised Handbook F-66 General Investment Policies and Procedures is to include a management step to regularly review the progress and benefits of its capital investments, as well as its affordability and achievability, and make adjustments as necessary to meet the investment's goals. In addition, once a project is completed, USPS will require capital investment managers to present on the investment's performance, return-on-investment, and lessons learned.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure the quality of both the more detailed data that agencies collect on their structures and the summary information submitted in the FRPP, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should, in collaboration with FRPC, develop guidance to improve agencies' internal controls to produce consistent, accurate, and reliable data on their structures.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm the actions that OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to require documentation of the reasoning behind risk determinations for breaches involving PII.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the department stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to require an evaluation of the agency's response to data breaches involving PII to identify lessons learned that could be incorporated into agency security and privacy policies and practices.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the department stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to require documentation of the risk assessment performed for breaches involving PII, including the reasoning behind risk determinations.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the department stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to document the number of affected individuals associated with each incident involving PII.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the department stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to require an evaluation of the agency's response to data breaches involving PII to identify lessons learned that could be incorporated into agency security and privacy policies and practices.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the department stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should require documentation of the risk assessment performed for breaches involving PII, including the reasoning behind risk determinations.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should document the number of affected individuals associated with each incident involving PII.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve their response to data breaches involving PII, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should require an evaluation of the agency's response to data breaches involving PII to identify lessons learned that could be incorporated into agency security and privacy policies and practices.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet validated agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Director: Moran, Revae E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency and completeness of national data on participants in the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs, the Secretary of Labor should take additional steps to improve the uniformity of participant data reported by states. The Secretary of Labor should promote a formal, continuous process for improving the quality of data on participants in the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs through such measures as the following: (a) consistently sharing the results of all oversight activities with states and local areas, including findings from validation of participant data; (b) reviewing the methods used for data validation, such as its scope and error rate threshold, to identify opportunities to increase efficiencies and accountability in the process. This could include implementing, if appropriate, recommendations from the Regions' review of data validation procedures; (c) evaluating data validation efforts to determine their effects on data quality, particularly on systemic errors, and providing targeted guidance and assistance to states and local areas to address such errors; (d) regularly monitoring Social Policy Research Associates' corrections and analyses of state WIA participant data, sharing this information with states, and coordinating with states to ensure that any corrections are appropriate and accurate; and (e) collecting and disseminating promising practices to states and local areas on data collection and reporting on a regular basis.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: States began using a Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL)--which includes common reporting definitions across WIOA core programs--as of July 1, 2016, and DOL anticipates receiving the first State Annual Performance Reports based on these data by October 16, 2017. As part of this effort, DOL has held in-person training sessions with state and local officials and also provided them with technical assistance, including guidance related to implementing required data collection and reporting efforts under WIOA. In addition, DOL outlined several ongoing data validation efforts, such as adding additional edit checks and identifying and addressing technical issues as they occur. We will close this recommendation when DOL receives and processes the first state performance reports under the PIRL and furnishes documentation of its data validation efforts.
    Director: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to enhance the accuracy of and ensure appropriate agency access to SSA's death data, and to clarify how SSA applies the eligibility requirements of the Social Security Act and enhance agencies' awareness of how to obtain access, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to develop and publicize guidance it will use to determine whether agencies are eligible to receive SSA's full death file.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) disagreed with this recommendation, stating that each request to obtain the full death file is unique, and that officials must review them on a case-by-case basis to ensure compliance with various legal requirements. It also expressed concern that developing this guidance as we recommended would require agency expenditures unrelated to its mission in an already fiscally constrained environment. SSA noted that any federal agency that would like to explore accessing the full death master file (which includes state death records) should submit a request to SSA. SSA will review the file and, if satisfactory, enter into an Information Exchange Agreement covering terms, conditions and reimbursement for the exchange. As of April 2017, SSA reports that it is continuing its efforts and there is no change in status. GAO appreciates that agencies may base their request for the full death file on different intended uses, and supports SSA's efforts to ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements. However, developing such guidance could help to ensure consistency in SSA's future decision making by the new Office of Data Exchange, and enhance agencies' ability to obtain the data in a timely and efficient manner.
    Recommendation: In order to enhance the accuracy of and ensure appropriate agency access to SSA's death data, and to increase transparency among recipient agencies, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to share a more detailed explanation of how it determines reimbursement amounts for providing agencies with death information.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that it has implemented improvements in its estimating procedures for future reimbursable agreements to ensure consistent estimates for all customers. It reviews all reimbursable requests on a case-by-case basis to determine full costs (including direct and indirect expenses) to provide goods, resources, or services. However, the agency stated that it is not a typical government business practice to share these detailed costs for reimbursable agreements. As of April 2017, SSA reports that it is continuing its efforts and there is no change in status. We are encouraged that SSA has made efforts to standardize the estimates it shares with its federal partners. While we recognize that there may be limitations on the type of cost details SSA can provide to recipient agencies, we continue to believe that more transparency in conveying the factors that lead to the estimated and final reimbursement amounts recipient agencies are charged could help them make more informed decisions.
    Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the accuracy of "potential private pension benefit information" notices that SSA sends to Social Security claimants, Congress should consider legislation shifting responsibility and necessary resources to Labor for (a) electronically collecting form 8955-SSA information on participants' deferred vested benefits, (b) maintaining an accurate federal database of those benefits, and (c) periodically sending SSA accurate information about such benefits for recent Social Security claimants identified by SSA, so that SSA may provide notices to retirees.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, no congressional action has been taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to create and regularly update a comprehensive online tool for plan sponsors to search for the reports and disclosures they are required to provide based on plan type, design, and circumstances.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2013, Labor officials said that they would consult with their colleagues at the Treasury Department/IRS and PBGC regarding creation of one unified online tool for plan adminstrators to search for the reports and disclosures they are required to submit based on a plan's type, design, and circumstances. However, in FY 2014, officials indicated that, although they will continue to consult with their other agency colleagues regarding creation of such a tool, they now tentativley disagree with the recommendation and believe that such a tool could be confusing, especially for small employers. In 2015, Labor raised concerns about this recommendation, continuing to question whether a unified tri-agency online tool would be valuable for sponsors of large pension plans and may be confusing to some plan sponsors, especially small employers. They further noted that they do not believe it would be appropriate for EBSA to adjust its regulatory or guidance priorities at this time or reallocate resources currently dedicated to other priority projects in order to further explore any possible merit of such an online tool. GAO continues to believe just the opposite, that a well-designed comprehensive online tool could be very helpful, especially for small employers. In FY 17, Labor reiterated its opinions from previous years.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to create and regularly update a comprehensive online tool for plan sponsors to search for the reports and disclosures they are required to provide based on plan type, design, and circumstances.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS officials initially noted that they are continuing their efforts to ensure that plan sponsors have access to comprehensive and up-to-date online resources. They said they had met with Labor and PBGC officials to discuss the value and feasibility of developing and maintaining a comprehensive online tool. However, with decreased resources, they believe it is unlikely for the agency to create and regularly update such a tool. However, they would continue to confer with Labor and PBGC colleagues to determine if it is possible to cross-reference existing agency resources online. As of September 2017, IRS has not provided an update on its efforts. GAO continues to believe that such a tool would be beneficial to plan sponsors of all sizes.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to define criteria for complying with the readability provisions in ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and apply the criteria to agency-generated model notices as well as those developed by plan sponsors. As part of these criteria, consider requiring clear, simple, brief highlights at the beginning of disclosures, reflecting federal plain language guidelines.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: Labor officials stated that, while sensitive to plan sponsor concerns regarding liabilities that may result from ambiguities that arise when complex information is summarized using plain English criteria, they will, nevertheless, explore the application of readability standards in this context. Officials indicated they may decide it would be helpful to engage a contractor and undertake a survey or other data collection in order to evaluate this recommendation, but do not have resources budgeted in FY 2014 for such an exercise. In the meantime, they plan to continue to use modern communication techniques (such as focus group testing) to improve the effectiveness of their model notices and other standardized disclosures. In 2015, Labor reported that they need to explore the application of readability standards in light of concerns about liabilities that may result from ambiguities when complex information is summarized or presented using "plain English" criteria. Contracting for data collection would help them make an informed evaluation of this recommendation but they do not have the budgeted resources and believe it would not be appropriate to adjust priorities or reallocate resources. They will use techniques such as focus group testing to improve the effectiveness model notices and other standardized disclosures. GAO continues to believe it is important to implement a requirement to have clear, simple, brief highlights. In FY 17, Labor noted that the agency had not yet made a decision regarding future rulemaking and had suggested that the ERISA advisory counsel look at the effectiveness of disclosures.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to define criteria for complying with the readability provisions in ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and apply the criteria to agency-generated model notices as well as those developed by plan sponsors. As part of these criteria, consider requiring clear, simple, brief highlights at the beginning of disclosures, reflecting federal plain language guidelines.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS officials said that they are committed to using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines as a resource in preparing model disclosures and that they will consider including brief highlights at the beginning of model disclosures. They said that it is unclear that imposing defined readability criteria on employer and plan communications is in the best interests of plan participants, administrators, sponsors, and the retirement system as a whole. However, they do see merit in directing employers and plan sponsors to the Guidelines as a resource for developing readable notices and disclosures, and are considering how best to communicate that resource to stakeholders. As of September 2017, IRS has not provided an update on these efforts.
    Recommendation: To better ensure plan participants have access to information about their rights and benefits, as currently in force under their plans, Labor should direct plan sponsors to post to any intranet website maintained by the employer, as soon as determined feasible by Labor, a copy of the most current summary plan description (SPD) and any summary of material modifications issued subsequent to that SPD.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: Labor officials said that they generally support implementing such a requirement, subject to a legal determination of their authority absent legislation to issue such a directive. However, rather than addressing the recommendation as a stand-alone item, they believe it would be better to consider the benefits of such an intranet posting requirement in connection with efforts to expand or modify disclosure standards in response to their 2011 Request for Information (RFI) regarding electronic disclosure. Moreover, officials noted that, during FY 2014, Labor was focusing its regulatory resources on other higher priority projects and did not have a specific timeline for any next action on e-disclosure issues. In their 2015 response, Labor reiterated their agreement from agency comments. Based on comments from their RFI, they understand that many plan sponsors, especially those that have intranet websites, already post plan-related information for employees and that input from consumer advocates that have expressed concern about replacing employees? paper disclosure rights under ERISA with internet access. Labor has not added an e-disclosure project to its regulatory agenda but is still focusing its regulatory resources on other higher priority projects. GAO continues to believe that this is an important pursuit. In FY 17, Labor stated that they do not have any specific timeline for actions on e-disclosures.
    Director: Merritt, Zina Dache
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To determine whether the Army is achieving its estimated financial benefits in LMP, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop and implement a process to track the extent of financial benefits realized from the use of LMP during the remaining course of its life cycle. This process should be linked with the LMP performance baseline now being developed by the Army for use at AMC industrial sites.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2015, the Army formalized a process for measuring benefits from the Logistics Modernization Program. As of March 2017, the Army is refining its estimate of the financial benefits. We will continue to monitor the Army's plans going forward.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve future real property cost-savings initiatives and promote reliability and transparency, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with Federal Real Property Council agencies, develop clear and specific standards for: (1) identifying and reporting savings that help ensure common understanding of the various types of cost savings; (2) consistently reporting across categories and agencies; and (3) sufficiently documenting, validating, and reviewing results.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2015, GAO met with OMB officials about their implementation of a new cost estimating model that would largely implement this recommendation. OMB officials said they had engaged a contractor to develop the model and in the coming months they would be contacting member agencies on the Federal Real Property Council to obtain their feedback, with hopes of eventually incorporating the model into ongoing real property reform efforts. As of May 2016, GAO was inquiring about the status of this effort and was anticipating a meeting with OMB in the coming weeks to discuss this and other related real property efforts aimed at addressing GAO's high risk designation for this area.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's methodology for estimating and comparing the full cost of its various workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to further develop guidance for cost elements that users have identified as challenging to calculate, such as general and administrative, overhead, advertising and recruiting, and training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report on Comparing the Cost of Civilians and Contractors, DOD's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office is updating fiscal year 2017 estimates in its Full Cost of Manpower (FCoM) system to reflect separate officer and enlisted training costs. If more specific cost estimates are required, users of FCoM are directed to cost estimating tools operated by the military departments.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's methodology for estimating and comparing the full cost of its various workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to develop business rules for estimating the full cost of National Guard and Reserve personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report in Comparing the Cost of Civilians and Contractors, a cost estimating function for Reserve Component personnel far exceeds the combination of variables for developing active component and DOD civilian cost estimates. Due to the scope of the Full Cost of Manpower (FCoM) contract, OSD(CAPE) has not adopted this recommendation in terms of a web-based application. However, OSD(CAPE) intends to address general business rules for Reserve Component cost estimates in the next DoDI revision.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's methodology for estimating and comparing the full cost of its various workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, in coordination with the department's Office of the Actuary and appropriate federal actuarial offices, to reevaluate the inclusion and quantification of pension, retiree health care costs, and other relevant costs of an actuarial nature and make revisions as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report on Comparing the Cost of Civilians and Contractors, OSD(CAPE) has reviewed the inclusion of payments that the government makes to retirement and health benefits. All identified costs that are attributable to current retirees and past service of active civilian and military personnel, such as unfunded liabilities, are being revised in the cost estimating guidelines. OSD(CAPE) intends to incorporate these changes in the next DoDI revision and coordinate a review with the Office of the DoD Actuaty.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's ability to estimate contractor support costs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, consistent with established practices for developing credible cost estimates, to research the data sources it is currently using and reassess its contractor support data sources for use when determining contractor support costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report on Comparing the Cost of Civilian and Contractors, the department's efforts to improve data sources are ongoing.
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the ability of the U.S. agencies participating in the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) and Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) to conduct required oversight of compact funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of Insular Affairs, as Chairman of JEMCO, to coordinate with other JEMCO-member U.S. agencies to have JEMCO take all necessary steps, or, as the administrator of compact grants, to directly take all necessary steps, to ensure that the FSM (1) completes satisfactory plans to address annual decrements in compact funds, (2) produces reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and (3) addresses all single audit findings in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: JEMCO accepted decrement plans from the FSM which addressed one element of the recommendation. However, as of June 16th, 2017 the other parts of the recommendation have not been addressed.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the ability of the U.S. agencies participating in the JEMCO and JEMFAC committees to conduct required oversight of compact funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of Insular Affairs, as Chairman of the JEMFAC, to coordinate with other JEMFAC-member U.S. agencies to have JEMFAC take all necessary steps, or, as the administrator of compact grants, to directly take all necessary steps, to ensure that the RMI (1) completes satisfactory plans to address annual decrements in compact funds, (2) produces reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and (3) addresses all single audit findings in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: JEMFAC accepted decrement plans from the RMI, which addressed one element of the recommendation. However, as of June 16th, 2017 the other parts of the recommendation have not been addressed.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve EPA's management of the conditional registration process, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs to complete plans to automate data related to conditional registrations to more readily track the status of these registrations and related registrant and agency actions and identify potential problems requiring management attention.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, EPA reported that until upgrades to OPP's database architecture are complete in the FY 18 timeframe, the agency cannot complete plans to automate data related to conditional registrations. The agency informed us that plans are currently underway to improve the functionality and accuracy of OPP databases, including the tracking of information on conditional registration. However, until this work is complete, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to improve the reliability of cost estimates by addressing the weaknesses we identified in this report so that each investment at least substantially meets each of the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: We followed up on the status of IRS's actions to address this recommendation for the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2, the Return Review Program (RRP), and IRS.gov, the three investments with significant planned expenditures for development in fiscal year 2017, according to data reported on the Federal IT dashboard (the remaining four investments in our 2013 review are primarily in operations and maintenance based on the same IT dashboard data). We selected CADE 2, RRP, and IRS.gov because they would benefit most from improvements to cost estimates given their life cycle stage. In the Summer of 2017, IRS provided documentation to demonstrate actions taken to address the weaknesses we had identified with the CADE 2, and RRP cost estimates. We are currently analyzing this information. For IRS.gov, IRS told us the investment had been in operations and maintenance for several years and was therefore not producing the cost documentation that is typically associated with development efforts. We requested documentation supporting this claim and as of September 2017 were waiting to receive it.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to improve the extent to which schedules are well-constructed and controlled by addressing the weaknesses we identified in this report so that each investment at least substantially meets each of these characteristics.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: We followed up on the status of IRS's actions to address this recommendation for the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2, the Return Review Program (RRP), and IRS.gov, the three investments with significant expenditures planned for development in fiscal year 2017, according to data reported on the Federal IT dashboard (the remaining four investments in our 2013 review are primarily in operations and maintenance based on the same IT dashboard data). We selected CADE 2, RRP, and IRS.gov because they would benefit most from improvements to schedule estimates given their life cycle stage. In the Summer of 2017, IRS provided documentation to demonstrate actions taken to address the weaknesses we had identified with the CADE 2, and RRP schedule estimates. We are currently analyzing this documentation. For IRS.gov, IRS told us the investment had been in operations and maintenance for several years and was therefore not producing the schedule estimates that are typically associated with development efforts. We requested documentation supporting this claim and as of September 2017 were waiting to receive it.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to develop and implement guidance that specifies best practices--such as including evaluating critical path (for projected schedule), using earned value management data, evaluating the performance of completed work and comparing it to the remaining budget, assessing commitment values for material needed to complete remaining work, and estimating future conditions--to consider when determining projected cost and schedule amounts.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, we reported on IRS's development and implementation of its Investment Performance Tool for tracking cost, schedule and scope metrics for its IT investments. At the time, IRS was using the tool for two investments. As of September 2017, we were reviewing the agency?s use of the tool as part of an ongoing review. We plan to further examine the use of the tool and the supporting guidance to determine the extent to which they address this recommendation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4859

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve NASA management and oversight of its spaceflight projects, and to improve the reliability of project EVM data, the NASA Administrator should direct the appropriate offices to modify the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program that: (1) Ensures anomalies in contractor-delivered and in-house monthly earned value management reports are identified and explained, and report periodically to the center and mission directorate's leadership on relevant trends in the number of unexplained anomalies. (2) Ensures consistent use of work breakdown structures (WBS) for both the EVM report and the schedule. (3) Ensures that lower level EVM data reconcile to project level EVM data using the same WBS structure. (4) Improves underlying schedules so that they are properly sequenced using predecessor and successor dependencies and are free of constraints to the extent practicable so that the EVM baseline is reliable.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation. NASA has implemented several initiatives related to EVM training tools and support material to enhance EVM implementation, but has not modified the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program. In May 2017, officials reiterated NASA's position that they do not plan to implement a formal surveillance plan due to resource constraints. We continue to believe that implementing this recommendation for projects to implement a formal surveillance program would be beneficial and prevent anomalies in EVM data from occurring. Without implementing proper surveillance, projects may be utilizing unreliable EVM data in its analyses to inform its cost and schedule decision making.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: In order to promote greater use of effective prepayment edits and better ensure proper payment, and to promote implementation of effective edits based on national policies, the CMS Administrator should develop written procedures to provide guidance to agency staff on all steps in the processes for developing and implementing edits based on national policies, including (1) time frames for taking corrective actions, (2) methods for assessing the effects of corrective actions, and (3) procedures for ensuring consideration of automated edits whenever possible, including for all existing NCDs and other national policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS developed written procedures in November 2012 to provide guidance to agency staff on procedures for ensuring consideration of automated edits whenever possible, as GAO recommended in November 2012, but these procedures do not include several key elements of GAO's recommendation. For example, the written procedures do not include time frames for making decisions on whether an edit will be developed for all existing National Coverage Determinations (NCD) and national policies. The written procedures also do not include requirements for methods to assess the effects of corrective actions taken. Implementing a comprehensive written process for developing edits for national policies could help ensure that edits are implemented whenever possible to reduce improper payments. As of September 2017, CMS had not provided us updated documentation that addressed these aspects of our recommendation. Once received, we will review the information and update this recommendation accordingly.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202)512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's efforts to improve general aviation safety, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to improve measures of general aviation activity by requiring the collection of the number of hours that general aviation aircraft fly over a period of time (flight hours). FAA should explore ways to do this that minimize the impact on the general aviation community, such as by collecting the data at regular events (e.g., during registration renewals or at annual maintenance inspections) that are already required.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA's collection of flight hour data during registration renewals or annual maintenance inspections is not feasible because it would require rulemaking and potentially have a significant economic and paperwork impact on the GA community. FAA noted that, although previously the GA Activity Survey was somewhat limited for collecting more extensive flight hour data, improvements to the survey regarding flight hour data collection have resulted in a low standard error of 1.1 percent, which means that the agency and industry can have confidence in the aggregate results regarding how GA is operated in the national airspace system. While there may have been methodological improvements to the survey, FAA's response indicates that it does not require the collection of GA flight hour data. GAO maintains that estimates from the survey still may not be sufficient for drawing conclusions about changes in crash rates over time and that more precise flight hour data could allow FAA to better target its safety efforts within the general aviation community.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's efforts to improve general aviation safety, and to ensure that ongoing safety issues are addressed, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to set specific general aviation safety improvement goals--such as targets for fatal accident reductions--for individual industry segments using a datadriven, risk management approach.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO confirmed in August 2017 that FAA's General Aviation Joint Steering Committee has undertaken a data-driven approach to resolving and mitigating the risks associated with all General Aviation (GA) fatal accidents and is exploring different metrics for monitoring individual industry segments utilizing tools such as the GA Activity Survey but that credible metrics for each industry sub-sector are currently not feasible. However, our recommendation was for FAA to develop metrics for industry segments because we found a variety of differences in accident and fatality rates among industry segments and believe that focusing on segments with higher instances of both is a better use of FAA's limited resources.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's efforts to improve general aviation safety, and to determine whether the programs and activities underlying the 5-year strategy are successful and if additional actions are needed, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to develop performance measures for each significant program and activity underlying the 5-year strategy.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO confirmed in August 2017 that FAA has established performance metrics for the activities underlying the 5-year strategy and that the GA fatal accident rate remains its primary performance measure. FAA also reported that additional performance measures would be developed in association with the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee working groups. However, FAA has provided no documentation of its metrics for the associated activities underlying the 5-year strategy therefore this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Pendleton, John H
    Phone: (404) 679-1816

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to identify how many headquarters personnel it has, including military, civilian and contractor personnel, and improve the information Congress and DOD need to ensure that headquarters organizations are appropriately sized and overhead positions are reduced to the extent possible, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of Administration and Management, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, to revise DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, to (1) include all major DOD headquarters activity organizations, (2) specify how contractors performing major DOD headquarters activity functions will be identified and included in headquarters reporting, (3) clarify how components are to compile the major DOD headquarters activities information needed to respond to the reporting requirements in section 1109 of the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, and (4) establish time frames for implementing the actions above to improve tracking and reporting headquarters resources.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation based on their understanding of the instruction. As of July 2017, DOD has not completed actions to address three of the four parts of this recommendation. (1) In August 2015, DOD stated that it has established a comprehensive definition of major DOD headquarters activities and will update the DOD Instruction defining major headquarters. According to DOD officials, this will include efforts to accurately and completely report all major DOD headquarters activity organizations. As of July 2017, DOD had not updated the instruction, DOD Instruction 5100.73.(2) DOD has made some progress toward better accounting for contractors but has not identified an approach to include contractors as part of its major DOD headquarters reporting, as GAO recommended in March 2012. In December 2011, DOD issued guidance on how components should account for contracted services. The guidance requires DOD to account for contracted services by the activity requiring the service rather than by the contracting activity, which would allow DOD to identify contractor full-time equivalents supporting major DOD headquarters activities. To implement its guidance, DOD established a single application, the Enterprise-wide Contractor Manpower Reporting Application (ECMRA), which is intended to facilitate overall management oversight of contracted services reporting and reviews. Officials stated that in October 2012, the Air Force and Navy took steps to establish ECMRA systems, modeled after the Army?s system, to collect data on contracted services by requiring activity, and that in August 2013, the Air Force made its system available for use by other defense agencies and DOD field activities. According to DOD officials, as data on contracted services are collected and reported through ECMRA systems, the department?s ability to report on contracted services by requiring activity should continue to improve. DOD officials further stated that as progress is made toward establishing ECMRA across the department, they plan to consider how to account for contractors performing headquarters functions as part of headquarters reporting. However, as of March 2017, DOD had not resolved issues with implementing ECMRA. For example, DOD had not outlined the relationships between a management support office, military departments, and other stakeholders to facilitate the collection and use of data from DOD?s inventory of contracted services in decision-making processes. In addition, DOD is in the process of defining the roles and responsibilities of the support office that is intended to help manage the inventory of contracted services reporting processes, and the department continues to explore options for an enhanced reporting system that may better meet user needs, in accordance with changes directed in The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. Until the department resolves the issues affecting the implementation of a common data system and identifies an approach to include contractors as part of its major DOD headquarters reporting, the department will not have complete information on headquarters staffing, which will likely hinder its ability to make informed management decisions about its headquarters resources. (3) DOD clarified how it would respond to section 1109 of the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act to satisfy this part of the recommendation. (4) DOD has taken some steps to revise DOD Instruction 5100.73 but it does not expect to update the Instruction until this effort is complete. DOD has also not yet established time frames for determining how contractors are to be included in major DOD headquarters activity. As noted above, this instruction has not been updated as of July 2017.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen the Coast Guard's efforts to ensure the security of OCS facilities and deepwater ports, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should make improvements to the Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database or MISLE guidance to better ensure that all OCS facilities, both fixed and floating, are accurately and consistently identified and that the results of security inspections are consistently recorded to allow for better data analyses and management of the security inspections process.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, the Coast Guard updated its Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) Facilities User Guide to reflect an added feature to MISLE that allows users to identify if a vessel or facility is an OCS facility regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), 33 CFR 106. To ensure that this added feature is used in a consistent manner to accurately classify facilities that are regulated under 33 CFR 106, the Coast Guard is in the process of updating Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 05-03. In mid-November 2016, the Coast Guard liaison noted that the Coast Guard expects to issue the updated circular and complete related activities by the end of October 2017. On March 24, 2017, the Coast Guard liaison sent an email to notify GAO that the Coast Guard is still awaiting final decision on deployment of Homeport 2.0, prior to finalizing NVIC 5-03 and that the MISLE User Guide remains under development, with the estimated completion date (ECD) remaining as 10/31/17.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202)512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the development and implementation of IDR and One PI are successful in helping the agency meet the goals and objectives of its program integrity initiatives, the Administrator of CMS should implement and manage plans for incorporating data in IDR to meet schedule milestones.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: While CMS has incorporated shared systems Medicare Part A (insurance for hospital and other inpatient services), Part B (insurance for hospital outpatient, physician, and other services), and three states' Medicaid data into IDR, it has not yet implemented and managed plans for incorporating all states' Medicaid data, as GAO recommended in June 2011. As a result, the repository does not yet include all the data that were planned to be incorporated by the end of 2012, and efforts to add the remaining states' Medicaid data to IDR continue to be behind schedule. As of March 2017, agency officials are working to develop plans to integrate all states' data into IDR as part of ongoing program integrity initiatives.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the development and implementation of IDR and One PI are successful in helping the agency meet the goals and objectives of its program integrity initiatives, the Administrator of CMS should define any measurable financial benefits expected from the implementation of IDR and One PI.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, CMS officials reported that they have identified areas of potential cost savings to be achieved by requiring program integrity contractors to use IDR and One PI, as GAO recommended in June 2011. CMS is awarding new contracts to include this requirement, which is expected to result in the agency no longer funding contractors' efforts to establish and maintain their own data warehouses and analytical tools. However, not all of the contracts have been awarded and, therefore, the requirement has not been fully implemented. Until all the new contracts have been awarded that require the contractors to use IDR and One PI for program integrity purposes, CMS will not have reasonable assurance that using the systems will help improve CMS's ability to detect fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and to achieve the $21 billion in financial benefits program officials projected.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-9338

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve EPA's ability to oversee the states' implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide Congress and the public with more complete and accurate information on compliance, the Administrator of EPA should resume data verification audits to routinely evaluate the quality of selected drinking water data on health-based and monitoring violations that the states provide to EPA. These audits should also evaluate the quality of data on the enforcement actions that states and other primacy agencies have taken to correct violations.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, EPA reported that it had not resumed its data verification audits, but is continuing on-site file reviews, completing 5 in 2015, and planning to complete 8 in 2016. Further, EPA continues to focus on developing its SDWIS Prime, which will support electronic verification of data. It plans to have the system operational in March 2018. In the last year, EPA conducted two training events with the regional file review teams which the agency indicated helped (1) identify challenges in completing file reviews and potential solutions, and (2) share best practices to enhance the implementation of the protocol. EPA told us that as the regions build more capacity and experience in conducting these file reviews, EPA expects to gradually increase the number of file reviews completed in a year. According to OECA, who collaborates with the water office for file reviews in some regions, there were no systemic discrepancies between enforcement file contents and data reported to EPA in its test of the protocol for evaluating the quality of enforcement data in 3 states.
    Recommendation: To improve EPA's ability to oversee the states' implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide Congress and the public with more complete and accurate information on compliance, the Administrator of EPA should work with the states to establish a goal, or goals, for the completeness and accuracy of data on monitoring violations. In setting these goals, EPA may want to consider whether certain types of monitoring violations merit specific targets. For example, the agency may decide that a goal for the states to completely and accurately report when required monitoring was not done should differ from a goal for reporting when monitoring was done but not reported on time.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA, it has not worked with states to establish a national goal for the quality of monitoring violations. EPA stated that without the ability to conduct on-site data verifications using a statistically-based sample size, it is unable to derive a goal that would capture both completeness of state reporting to EPA and whether the states correctly assigned a violation for missed monitoring. EPA said that it intends to work with states to evaluate the establishment of a monitoring data quality goal once the new SDWIS NextGen data system has been developed and electronic data verification functions are incorporated into the system. In April 2015, EPA indicated that the agency intends to separate monitoring violations from reporting violations in the new SDWIS Primacy Agency data system. According to EPA, this will enable the primacy agencies and EPA to better understand the nature of system violations and with the violations delineated in this manner, will allow EPA to consider developing goals for monitoring and reporting violations. In September 2015, EPA reported to GAO that it anticipated that states will begin using SDWIS Prime in September 2017 and that it will consider GAO's recommendation once SDWIS Prime is fully operational and it is able to better establish such a goal.
    Recommendation: To improve EPA's ability to oversee the states' implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide Congress and the public with more complete and accurate information on compliance, the Administrator of EPA should consider whether EPA's performance measures for community water systems could be constructed to more clearly communicate the aggregate public health risk posed by these systems' noncompliance with SDWA and progress in having those systems return to compliance in a timely manner.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA, the agency has not made any adjustments to the performance measures for community water systems. EPA told us that, as part of its periodic review of the 5-year Strategic Plan, it will consult with the states, the Office of Management and Budget, GAO and the National Drinking Water Advisory Committee (NDWAC) on how it could construct a new measure to communicate better the aggregate public health risk posed by noncompliance as GAO suggests. EPA also said that it will continue to use a variety of tools and resources to convey to the public information on drinking water quality and potential health risks associated with exposure to contaminants. In April 2015, EPA wrote: OGWDW did not make any changes in Fiscal Year 2014 to the program's current community water system-based measure which communicates the results of efforts to return systems to compliance and maintain compliance. The "person month" measure provides insight into the duration of health based violations. For FY 15, we have developed a "person month" measure for tribal community water systems. Further efforts to evaluate the current measures and consideration of GAO suggestions will continue to be part of the Agency's periodic review of the five-year strategic plan. In September 2015, EPA told GAO that it was evaluating the effectiveness of the "person month" measure and is continuing to enhance and revise the measures taking GAO suggestions into consideration.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-6670

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate the effective governmentwide management of federal spectrum use, and to ensure NTIA's previous efforts to develop a federal strategic plan are not diminished, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information should develop an updated plan that includes key elements of a strategic plan, as well as information on how spectrum is being used across the federal government, opportunities to increase efficient use of federally allocated spectrum and infrastructure, an assessment of future spectrum needs, and plans to incorporate these needs in the frequency assignment, equipment certification, and review processes.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the Department of Commerce has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dicken, John E
    Phone: (202)512-7043

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that information entered into CMS's complaints database is reliable and consistent, the Administrator of CMS should identify issues with data quality and clarify guidance to states about how particular fields in the database should be interpreted, such as what it means to substantiate a complaint.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In November 2014, CMS officials reported that the agency's Survey and Certification Group was in the early stages of a planned multi-year review of all of its business processes, including those related to nursing home complaint investigations. Officials stated that, as part of that review, agency staff would seek to provide clarification on all aspects of the complaint process, including what it means to substantiate a complaint. As of September 2016, CMS officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen CMS's assessment of state survey agencies' performance in the management of nursing home complaints, the Administrator of CMS should conduct additional monitoring of state performance using information from CMS's complaints database, such as additional timeliness measures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2014, CMS officials reported that the fiscal year 2014 protocol for assessment of state agency performance includes a new measure that tracks how soon after the completion of a complaint investigation a state agency uploads data from that investigation to CMS's complaint tracking system. However, the protocol does not call for assessment of the number of days by which state survey agencies miss the deadlines for some complaint investigations--a measure that we suggested could provide a more comprehensive picture of state agency performance. As of September 2016, CMS officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen CMS's assessment of state survey agencies' performance in the management of nursing home complaints, the Administrator of CMS should assure greater consistency in assessments by identifying differences in interpretation of the performance standards and clarifying guidance to state survey agencies and CMS regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed that CMS needed to strengthen its assessment of state survey agencies' performance in the management of nursing home complaints. In November 2014, CMS officials reported that the agency's fiscal year 2014 protocol for assessment of state agencies' performance requires CMS regional offices to review the extent to which the states' policies are consistent with CMS policies. CMS officials acknowledged that there was some variation among states and noted that the agency's Survey and Certification Group is in the early stages of a multi-year review of all of its business processes. Officials expected this review would identify additional opportunities to improve consistency among states in the application of the performance standards. As of September 2016, CMS officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen and increase accountability of state survey agencies' management of the nursing home complaints process, the Administrator of CMS should clarify guidance to the state survey agencies about the minimum information that should be conveyed to complainants at the close of an investigation.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed that CMS needed to take steps to strengthen and increase accountability of state survey agencies' management of nursing home complaints. In November 2014, CMS officials reported that while they believed the CMS State Operations Manual, which specifies procedures for addressing complaints, provides significant guidance regarding the information that state agencies should convey to complainants at the close of an investigation, they would review the guidance to identify any needed changes. As of September 2016, CMS officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen and increase accountability of state survey agencies' management of the nursing home complaints process, the Administrator of CMS should provide guidance encouraging state survey agencies to prioritize complaints at the level that is warranted, not above that level.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed that CMS needed to take steps to strengthen and increase accountability of state survey agencies' management of the nursing home complaints process and stated that CMS would provide clarification and guidance to states to ensure complaints were prioritized at the appropriate level. However, in CMS's fiscal year 2014 protocol for assessment of state agency performance, the prioritization standard still required only that complaints be assigned a priority level at or above the level assigned by CMS reviewers. We remain concerned that defining the standard this way may create an incentive for survey agencies to prioritize some complaints at a higher level than is warranted--which could increase workload and potentially jeopardize the timeliness of investigations that warrant the higher priority level. As of September 2016, CMS officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen and increase accountability of state survey agencies' management of the nursing home complaints process, the Administrator of CMS should implement CMS's proposed plans to publish state survey agencies' scores but limit publication to those performance standards that CMS considers the most reliable and clear.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed that CMS needed to take steps to strengthen and increase accountability of state survey agencies' management of the nursing home complaints process and said that CMS would work with state officials and others to identify key performance information that would be of public value. In November 2014, CMS officials reported that the agency had not yet outlined a method or timetable for publishing states' performance scores. As of September 2016, CMS officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    7 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use evaluation results, response rate, and other data to develop a predictive model that would inform decisions on how much and how best to allocate paid media funds for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During 2013, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessments of the 2010 communications campaign. The Bureau concluded that extra investment of advertising in certain markets increased awareness of the Census. During 2015, the Bureau conducted research and testing on activities to support planning for the 2020 communications campaign. The Bureau based its testing, in part, on evaluation results of paid media activities the 2010 integrated communications program. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the contractor will develop a paid media plan based on tests of advertising with target audiences and complete analysis of media buys. The contractor will develop an ad tracking system to help inform decisions on allocating paid media funds for 2020. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated action on this recommendation is due by December 31, 2017, and as of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in developing its approach for the 2020 Integrated Communications Program.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to develop mechanisms to increase coordination and communication between the partnership and local census office staff. Possible actions include offering more opportunities for joint training, establishing protocols for coordination, and more effectively leveraging the partnership contact database to better align partnership outreach activities with local needs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessment of the partnership program. According to the Bureau, the Regional Partnership is developing a strategy for the 2020 Census Partnership and Outreach Program. In September 2014, the Bureau's Path to the 2020 Census, identified the Partnership Program as one of the best methods for communicating the importance of response and states its intent to map out details about the Partnership Program in early 2016. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will collaborate with program areas, the Field Division, and regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are gathering artifacts that they believe may demonstrate progress with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the user-friendliness of the partnership database to help ensure more timely updates of contact information and enhance its use as a management tool.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program that highlighted user problems with the partnership database. One of the report's recommendations was to ensure ease of data entry for users of the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD). In 2014, the Bureau reported the agency is continuing to modifications to the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD) system and discussing options for improving the efficiency and usability of the IPCD. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will work closely with the regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated that action on this recommendation is due by September 30, 2017. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in improving the efficiency and usability of its partnership database.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that promotional materials, including in-language materials for the partnership program, are available when partnership staff are first hired.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program. One of the report's recommendations was to provide promotional materials that fit partner needs. During April 2014, Bureau reported its staff in the field and communications directorates have plans to review assessments, lessons learned reports and debriefings with key staff, stakeholders, and partners to inform an effective strategy for the development, production, and delivery of promotional materials, including non-English language materials, for the 2020 Census. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will produce materials such as promotional items for partners to use in promoting awareness of the census. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are attempting to identify and provide evidence that they met their April 1, 2017 deadline of implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to assess visitation, response rate, and other applicable data on Be Counted/QAC locations and use that information to revise site selection guidance for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During May 2012 the Bureau reported on its assessment of the Be Counted/ Questionnaire Assistance Center program. The assessment included information on the number of individuals counted and number of location established but did not identify response rates for hard-to enumerate groups. In April 2013, the Bureau reported on its assessment of coverage measurement issues related to hard-to-enumerate populations. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts such as Be Counted. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the factors that led to the staffing issues observed during SBE and take corrective actions to ensure more efficient SBE staffing levels in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2012, the Bureau issued its assessment of the Service Based Enumeration Program. The assessment reported on the number of individuals counted and the complexities of this special enumeration activity. The assessment did not address the Bureau's approach to staffing this special enumeration activity. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the extent to which each special enumeration activity improved the count of traditionally hard-to-enumerate groups and use the results to help inform decision making on spending for these programs in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau reported on assessments of many 2010 special enumeration activities such as the Service-Based Enumeration and the Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Center Programs. These assessments revealed the number of persons counted and spending for the special enumeration activities. Separately, the Bureau issued results of the 2010 Census Coverage Measurement Program that described the level of coverage of various hard-to-enumerate populations generally without attributing coverage to specific enumeration activities. In 2015, the Bureau issued its 2020 Census Operational Plan outlining design changes for enumeration activities. According to the Bureau, the changes are designed to optimize self-response and use administrative records and third party data to reduce field work. However, the Bureau had not provided details of its plans for various special enumeration activities. In April 2017 Bureau officials provided us with evaluation results of its 2010 communication efforts and other documents related to ongoing efforts to reduce errors in the census. As of mid-July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide other artifacts they believe may demonstrate that recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: Jones, Yvonne D
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress is fully apprised of efforts to resolve a case, Congress may wish to consider amending USERRA to require DOJ and OSC to report on additional time taken to resolve a matter after they decline representation.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 28, 2017, this matter has not yet been considered by Congress.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that that servicemembers who file complaints are adequately being informed of their USERRA complaint process rights in accordance with VBIA 2008, Congress may wish to consider amending USERRA to require DOL to report on the extent to which it is notifying complainants of their USERRA complaint process rights within 5 days of filing a complaint.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 28, 2017, this matter has not yet been considered by Congress.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOJ handles state cases as expediently as private employer cases, Congress may wish to consider amending USERRA to specifically require DOJ to adhere to the same 60-day deadline for state employer matters that they must adhere to for matters against private employers.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 28, 2017, this matter has not yet been considered by Congress.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that servicemembers in state employer cases are kept apprised of the status of DOJ's decision making without potentially compromising DOJ's ability to successfully bring suit against state employers, Congress may wish to consider amending USERRA to require DOJ to notify these servicemembers of the status of DOJ's efforts.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 28, 2017, this matter has not yet been considered by Congress.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further the goals of public understanding of what Recovery Act funds are being spent on and what results are expected, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should work with executive departments and agencies to determine (1) whether supplemental guidance is needed to meet, in a reasonable and cost-effective way, the intent of the Recovery Act for reporting on projects and activities and (2) whether that supplemental guidance or other agency-proposed technical assistance dealing with narrative descriptions of awards provides for transparent descriptions of funded activities.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further the goals of public understanding of what Recovery Act funds are being spent on and what results are expected, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should periodically (1) review, in partnership with executive departments and agencies, the descriptions of awards--in particular, the narrative fields--submitted by recipients to determine whether the information provides a basic understanding of the uses of the funds and the expected outcomes, and, if not, determine what actions to take, including encouraging agencies to develop or improve program-specific guidance and (2) work with the Recovery Board on the board's assessments of departments' and agencies' data quality reviews to ensure the adequacy of these reviews and further reinforce actions to meet transparency goals.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202)512-2649

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FDA's oversight of dietary supplements and foods with added dietary ingredients, and to better enable FDA to meet its responsibility to regulate dietary supplements that contain new dietary ingredients, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to issue guidance to clarify when an ingredient is considered a new dietary ingredient, the evidence needed to document the safety of new dietary ingredients, and appropriate methods for establishing ingredient identity.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2011, FDA published draft guidance for industry on new dietary ingredient notifications and related issues. This draft guidance includes information on when a dietary ingredient is considered new, evidence of safety, and methods for ingredient identity. We are waiting for the draft guidance to become final to close the recommendation.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-5594

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To simplify the burden that the corporate exemption places on payers to distinguish payees' business status and also provide greater information reporting, Congress may wish to consider requiring payers to report payments to corporations on the form 1099 MISC, as we previously suggested and as proposed in the Bush Administration's budget.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No legislative action has been identified to require payers engaged in a trade or business to report on payments to corporations for services, thereby reducing these payers' burden to determine which payments require reporting. On March 23, 2010, Congress enacted section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-148), which expanded information reporting to include payments made to corporations, consistent with GAO's January 2009 matter for congressional consideration. The provision also required payers to report payments for property and gross proceeds. The provision was to be effective for payments after December 31, 2011, requiring payers to report beginning in January 2013 on payments to corporations made in 2012 for property or services. However, Congress repealed the provision on April 14, 2011, by section 2 of the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-9).
    Recommendation: To gauge the extent of 1099-MISC payer noncompliance and its contribution to the tax gap, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should, as part of future research studies, develop an estimate of 1099-MISC payer noncompliance.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to IRS, developing such an estimate requires a multi-pronged approach and a large amount of coordinated effort. One prong is to determine the extent of filing compliance among employers. A second prong would determine the extent to which 1099-MISC payers properly report their payments. Starting with the Tax Year 2001 individual income tax reporting compliance study, the National Research Program (NRP) office has been collecting some data related to Form 1099-MISC compliance, from both the payer and payee perspectives. With the ongoing annual individual income tax reporting compliance studies, the IRS will gather more data on this issue. However, by themselves, these efforts will not provide a comprehensive picture of the scope of potential Form 1099-MISC non-compliance. Additional data will be generated by the NRP reporting compliance study for employment tax. As part of the NRP employment tax research, IRS examiners were to review taxpayers' Form 1099 filing compliance. Data collected from these studies should shed some light on whether employers are appropriately reporting required payments on Form 1099-MISC. As of July 2017, IRS had completed portions of its analysis of the NRP employment tax sample results and was working to resolve data issues. IRS estimates its analysis of the extent of Form 1099-MISC payer noncompliance will be complete by December 2017. We will continue to monitor IRS's progress.
    Recommendation: To gauge the extent of 1099-MISC payer noncompliance and its contribution to the tax gap, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should, as part of future research studies, determine the nature and characteristics of those payers that do not comply with 1099-MISC reporting requirements so that this information can be factored into an IRS-wide strategy for increasing 1099-MISC payer compliance.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS researchers are collecting data on 1099-MISC reporting as part of its National Research Program (NRP) study on employment taxes, a program that involves examinations of a sample of tax returns expected to culminate in 2015. The examinations include tax years 2008 through 2010. As part of the NRP employment tax research, IRS examiners were to review taxpayers' Form 1099 filing compliance. Collecting data on this issue will enable IRS to study the nature and characteristics of payers that do not comply with 1099-MISC reporting requirements. As of July 2017, IRS had completed portions of its analysis of the NRP employment tax sample results and was working to resolve data issues. IRS estimates its 1099-MISC payer reporting compliance analysis will be completed in December 2017.We will continue to monitor IRS's progress.
    Director: Williams, Orice M
    Phone: (202)512-5837

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should direct FEMA to take steps to ensure that its rate-setting methods and the data it uses to set rates result in full-risk premiums rates that accurately reflect the risk of losses from flooding. These steps should include, for example, verifying the accuracy of flood probabilities, damage estimates, and flood maps; ensuring that the effects of long-term planned and ongoing development, as well as climate change, are reflected in the flood probabilities used; and reevaluating the practice of aggregating risks across zones.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, FEMA is taking steps to verify the accuracy of flood probabilities by collecting and analyzing data from flood insurance studies. FEMA is also continuing to monitor the completion of these studies to determine when a statistically valid amount of data is available so that it can better assess flood risk. To verify the accuracy of damage estimates, FEMA is collecting data required to revise its estimates of flood damage and is undertaking studies to determine factors beyond flood water depth that contribute to flood damage. FEMA will incorporate that information into its rate-setting methodology as the necessary data becomes available. To verify the accuracy of flood maps, FEMA continues to reassess flood risk, evaluate coastal flood maps, and update its overall map inventory. To ensure that flood probabilities reflect long-term and ongoing planned development and climate change, FEMA is working with the Technical Mapping Advisory Committee to ensure the best available information on flood probabilities is used for rate-setting. In addition, as FEMA collects information on flood probabilities, it will conduct analyses to evaluate the practice of classifying risk across zones.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should direct FEMA to ensure that information is collected on the location, number, and losses associated with existing and newly created grandfathered properties in NFIP and to analyze the financial impact of these properties on the flood insurance program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: To assess the impact of grandfathered properties on the NFIP, as of January 2017, FEMA has begun to develop a process to obtain current zone designations for all existing policyholders. In addition, FEMA is requiring zone determination data to be updated as flood maps change. According to FEMA, this will allow officials to determine which policyholders are grandfathered but will not allow the determination of a property-specific rate in all circumstances.
    Director: Shames, Lisa R
    Phone: (202)512-2649

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure sufficient oversight and management direction are provided to guide USDA's civil rights efforts, to make responsibility for improvement clear, and to make USDA's performance more transparent, Congress may wish to consider making USDA's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights subject to a statutory performance agreement.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2013, action on a new farm bill is pending and it is not known whether Congress will make the Assistant Secretary subject to a performance agreement.
    Recommendation: To better ensure sufficient oversight and management direction are provided to guide USDA's civil rights efforts, to make responsibility for improvement clear, and to make USDA's performance more transparent, Congress may wish to consider establishing a USDA civil rights oversight board.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2013, action on a new farm bill is pending and it is not known whether Congress will establish a USDA civil rights oversight board.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA efforts to address civil rights issues and the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should prepare and implement an improvement plan for resolving discrimination complaints that sets time frame goals and provides management controls for resolving complaints from beginning to end.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA has not fully implemented this recommendation. As of August 2012, USDA had developed a plan to improve resolution of discrimination complaints, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) had implemented many of the plan's actions, such as placing priority on processing program complaints facing the statute of limitations. However, USDA had more work to do on (1) establishing an electronic records management system; (2) implementing the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) process; (3) conducting pilot efforts to explore establishing new time frame goals for intake, investigation, and adjudication activities to resolve employee and program complaints; and (4) providing documentation of new policies, procedures, guidance, and training needed to determine if new management controls cover the entire process for resolving complaints. As of September 2013, OASCR's electronic complaints management systems allow OASCR to scan in, store, and retrieve multiple records in a searchable environment. OASCR undertook a review of the program complaint process through LSS, and based on the results, extended the scope of the review to include the employment complaint process. OASCR implemented core changes through LSS that identify efficiencies to reduce time frames. OASCR has established time frame goals for processing program complaints; however, it has yet to establish them for investigating and adjudicating employment complaints. Time frame goals for the entire employment complaint resolution process would have to be final before management controls can be made final.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA efforts to address civil rights issues and the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop and implement a plan to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of ASCR's databases on customer and employee complaints, and that provides for independent validation of ASCR's data quality.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA has not fully implemented this recommendation. As of August 2012, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights' (OASCR) efforts to ensure data reliability of the iComplaints employee complaints database included a comprehensive set of business rules, a data integrity tool, and a quality review management module. Also, OASCR had developed and was implementing a plan to check the accuracy of the data entered for every program complaint in the Program Complaints Management System (PCMS). However, OASCR had not provided all of the documentation needed to assess whether its planned efforts contain key elements to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the iComplaints and PCMS databases. For example, OASCR officials had neither provided documentation showing that the office developed departmental policy to ensure the consistent use of iComplaints and PCMS nor training to ensure the completeness of data in PCMS. As of September 2013, OASCR officials provided standard operating procedures (SOPs) for processing program complaints, which include numerous steps to ensure the consistent use of PCMS. OASCR officials also provided SOPs for processing employment complaints; however, the SOPs have not been finalized for the investigation and adjudication phases of the processing and are therefore insufficient to ensure the consistent use of iComplaints. OASCR officials did provide documentation showing that OASCR has established a formal training program to ensure that OASCR and USDA civil rights practitioners are trained in the proper use of PCMS and iComplaints. In addition, the PCMS Data Integrity Team is working to correct discrepancies found as of October 2012. This effort is 85 percent complete.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA efforts to address civil rights issues and the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop a results-oriented department-level strategic plan for civil rights at USDA that unifies USDA's departmental approach with that of ASCR and the newly created Office of Advocacy and Outreach and that is transparent about USDA's efforts to address the concerns of stakeholders.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA has not fully implemented this recommendation. As of August 2012, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) had not updated its strategic plan since our report was issued in October 2008. From October 1, 2009, to November 20, 2011, OASCR was placed under Departmental Management and during that time was not required to develop or update its own strategic plan, according to OASCR officials. Since November 20, 2011, OASCR has reported directly to the Secretary and has been working to develop its own strategic plan. On July 31, 2012, we obtained a revised draft of OASCR's strategic plan that covers fiscal years 2011-2015. This draft still has a number of shortcomings. For example, it (1) focuses primarily on the activities OASCR plans and does not unify OASCR's approach with the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, other USDA agencies, or the department as a whole; (2) does not describe the viewpoints and interests of USDA's external stakeholders, such as community-based organizations; and (3) does not fully address other key issues identified in our report, such as measuring performance to gauge progress, using performance information for identifying performance gaps and making program improvements, and identifying external and internal factors that can influence the achievement of its long-term goals. As of September 2013, OASCR had, by November 2012, finalized and published its strategic plan for fiscal years 2011-2015. The published plan includes some time frame goals for processing program and employment complaints, but these goals are incomplete. The published plan also includes some minor editorial changes, but otherwise, it was almost identical to the draft plan we reviewed in July 2012 and still has the same shortcomings that we identified at that time.
    Director: White, James
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the lack of information on IRD users and where property claimed under IRD is placed in service, Congress may wish to consider requiring IRS to collect information identifying which taxpayers use IRD and the reservation and/or address where they have placed the property into service. In deliberating additional requirements, Congress should weigh the need for more IRD information with the associated costs of collecting and analyzing the information as well as the effects on IRS's other priorities.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we continue to monitor the issue.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address other issues that may exist in IRS's master files that affect penalty calculations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct appropriate IRS officials to, in instances where programs are not functioning in accordance with the intent of the IRM, take appropriate action to correct the programs so that they function in accordance with the IRM.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to IRS, it had substantially completed its corrective actions to address 19 penalty programming issues it had identified from its internal assessment of penalty computation programs. However, as of September 30, 2016, IRS had not provided us with supporting documentation to validate that it completed the corrective actions. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Director: Iritani, Katherine M
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the oversight of states' Medicaid supplemental payments, the Administrator of CMS should develop a strategy to identify all of the supplemental payment programs established in states' Medicaid plans and to review those programs that have not been subject to review under CMS's August 2003 initiative.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2016, HHS officials reported that they have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Dicken, John E
    Phone: (202)512-7043

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help states identify and address quality-of-care concerns among individuals with developmental disabilities receiving Medicaid HCBS waiver services, the Administrator of CMS should encourage states to (1) include death as a critical incident and conduct mortality reviews if they do not already do so and (2) broaden their mortality review processes if they already include death as a critical incident and conduct mortality reviews.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2009, CMS stated that it anticipated adding a question about mortality reviews to its next web-based version of the Home and Community-Based Services waiver application. CMS also indicated at that time that the next application version (i.e., Version 3.6) would be released in 2010. However, in July 2010, CMS indicated that this version would not be produced until 2011. In its 2011 update, CMS indicated that the version 3.6 online application had not yet been operationalized and therefore the recommendation should be left open until next year. In July 2013, CMS stated that version 3.6 remains on hold and that the agency is exploring other options for addressing this recommendation, with a target completion date of 12/31/2014.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Taking action to address the challenges FMCSA faces to ensure that its drug testing program detects drivers who are using illegal drugs, and to keep drivers who have tested positive off the road until they have completed the return-to-duty process, provides an opportunity to improve safety on the roads. In order to assist the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA in addressing these challenges, and thereby improving road safety, Congress may wish to consider adopting legislation to ban subversion products.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On February 4, 2009, Representative Engel introduced the Drug Testing Integrity Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives. The Act would ban products designed to defraud drug tests. On February 15, 2011 Representative Engel re-introduced the bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and then to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Representative Engel re-introduced the bill in the 113th Congress in May of 2013. However, the bill has not been reintroduced since.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To develop timely chemical risk information that EPA needs to effectively conduct its mission, the Administrator, EPA, should require the Office of Research and Development to re-evaluate its draft proposed changes to the IRIS assessment process in light of the issues raised in this report and ensure that any revised process periodically assesses the level of resources that should be dedicated to this significant program to meet user needs and maintain a viable IRIS database.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016 we reviewed information provided by EPA related to this recommendation. The issuance of the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program Multi-Year Agenda in December 2015 demonstrated progress in responding to this recommendation. While we are currently reviewing additional documentation on how the agenda development process assessed the level of resources needed to meet user demand and to maintain a viable IRIS database, we will reevaluate how EPA continues to document the level of resources dedicated to this program to determine whether updates are occurring periodically.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure compliance with federal contracting regulations and to more transparently disclose the extent to which subcontracting opportunities are available to small businesses, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense and the Administrator of General Services should consider asking their respective Inspectors General to conduct a review at an appropriate future date to ensure that this guidance and related requirements are being followed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS issued a chapter on its small business subcontracting program in its DHS Acquisition Manual in October 2009 and developed a subcontracting plan checklist that officials are to use when awarding a contract. In May 2010 DHS officials claimed that these documents are examples of progress they have made to address the recommendation on ensuring compliance with federal contracting regulations and other related requirements. After reviewing these documents we disagreed with the agency and do not believe that these documents constitute agency guidance on the contract administration duties to monitor contractor compliance with subcontracting plan reporting requirements.
    Director: Aronovitz, Leslie G
    Phone: (312)220-7767

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should require the PSCs to develop thresholds for unexplained increases in billing--and use them to develop automated prepayment controls as one component of their manual medical review strategies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: Despite progress in identifying potentially improper groups of claims by provider, CMS has not developed thresholds for unexplained increases in billing by providers and used them to develop automated prepayment controls, as GAO recommended in January 2007. CMS took action in July 2011 to improve Medicare payment accuracy by introducing predictive analytics to help identify patterns of potentially improper claims and has some other prepayment controls in place. Specifically, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 requires CMS to use predictive modeling and other analytic techniques?known as predictive analytic technologies?to identify improper claims and prevent improper payments under the Medicare fee-for-service program. CMS is streaming every Medicare fee-for-service claim through a predictive modeling technology system, known as the Fraud Prevention System (FPS), prior to payment. The FPS uses a series of algorithms to identify potentially fraudulent claims. As each claim streams through the FPS, the system builds profiles of providers, networks, and billing patterns. Using these profiles, CMS estimates a claim's likelihood of being fraudulent and prioritizes providers with the most suspicious groups of claims for further investigation. CMS also has other prepayment controls in place, for example, to identify duplicate billing. As of December 2015, CMS did have algorithms in FPS to flag providers with unexpected increases in billings for investigation. CMS also instituted prepayment controls that can deny a claim before payment, however these controls are related to Medicare coverage requirements and do not address the issue of large increases in provider billing. Prepayment controls can suspend claims processing or deny claims before claims are paid, which would provide a greater assurance that Medicare funds are not going to potentially fraudulent providers. As of August 2016, HHS officials reported that they have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (312)220-7767

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better account for physicians practicing in underserved areas through the use of J-1 visa waivers, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should collect and maintain data on waiver physicians--including information on their numbers, practice locations, and practice specialties--and use this information when identifying areas experiencing physician shortages and placing physicians in these areas.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)is working with State Primary Care Offices (PCOs) to collect data to determine which geographic areas, population groups, and facilities are qualified and suitable to receive federal shortage designations. As part of this process, HRSA plans to have a list of the J-1 visa waiver providers who are providing patient care in underserved areas available after December 2016. As of September 2016, we are leaving this recommendation open until HRSA finishes collecting these data and finalizes plans on how the data will be used, particularly when identifying areas experiencing physician shortages and placing physicians in these areas.
    Director: Stephenson, John B
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should take a number of steps to further protect the American public from elevated lead levels in drinking water. Specifically, to improve EPA's ability to oversee implementation of the lead rule and assess compliance and enforcement activities, EPA should ensure that data on water systems' test results, corrective action milestones, and violations are current, accurate, and complete.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, EPA highlighted its efforts to improve accuracy and timeliness of data submissions related to the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS)and other actions. The agency's attention to data quality has been increasing for some time, and been given greater scrutiny due to recent concerns about elevated lead in drinking water. For example, EPA indicated that its SDWIS coordinators in the regions review all SDWIS data submissions for accuracy and timeliness before approving submittal to the agency. EPA provides the Regions and the States with a data quality matrix report that gives metrics on the accuracy and timeliness of the last submission, after each quarterly submission. In addition, EPA described a lead and copper report that states can use to view their data in EPA's data warehouse and compare it to what they have in their SDWIS State (or other) system. EPA described additional efforts it has had underway in recent years to improve data quality and completeness. For example, the Agency has focused on promoting electronic reporting of drinking water data through development of the Compliance Monitoring Data Portal. This is expected to be completed by September, 2016. EPA is also developing SDWIS Prime to improve state program efficiency, automate candidate violation notifications, increase data submission quality, and promote reporting of compliance monitoring data. We will continue to monitor these efforts and reevaluate whether water systems' test results, corrective action milestones and violations are current, accurate and complete subsequent to the completion of the Compliance Monitoring Data Portal and SDWIS Prime but until then the status of this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Kingsbury, Nancy R
    Phone: (202)512-2700

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help correct undercounts, eliminate conceptual problems, and where possible, fill gaps for information on immigration flow, the Commissioner of INS should: (1) evaluate and, where feasible, improve data on flow; and (2) utilize an effective information typology (either the one put forward in table 2.1 of this report or an alternative designed by INS) to clearly distinguish different demographic concepts and to determine which statistics can fairly be compared to others.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Office of the Secretary
    Status: Open

    Comments: On September 5, 2017, GAO called the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Immigration Statistics, and discussed this open recommendation. The Deputy Assistant Secretary said that in response to the February 6, 2017, e-mail and a brief personal discussion with GAO during a Migration Policy Institute conference in August 2017, he had assigned a staff member to complete work on the typology, but that the staff member was one of several who were temporarily reassigned to work in Houston as a consequence of Hurricane Harvey, and for that reason work on the typology would be delayed. He said DHS would like to have this typology completed and published before the end of 2017, but could not guarantee that, and said that it would be completed. On February 6, 2017, GAO sent an e-mail to the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Immigration Statistics at DHS, which included a PDF of the typology GAO created, as well as a PDF of the published report. GAO followed up with a telephone call to the Deputy Assistant Secretary on February 24, 2017, and noted the former Director of the Office of Immigration Statistics had been working on adding some categories to the typology and planned on completing those and publishing it. The Deputy Assistant Secretary said he agreed that doing the typology and publishing it is important, and that he would be addressing it in the near future. On June 1, 2016, the Special Assistant for the Office of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security told GAO that it has initiated an examination of this recommendation to determine how it might be closed. When the typology is published and utilized, this recommendation will be closed.