Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Questionable payments"

    7 publications with a total of 16 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: J. Lawrence Malenich
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: CCI's Chief Financial Officer should update its existing Procurement and Accounts Payable Policy to fully document CCI's management approval controls over payments made by check, including exemptions to regular procedures. This should include approval procedures to be followed during periods when only one authorized manager is available to sign checks for payment.

    Agency: Capital Concerts, Inc.
    Status: Open

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to Capital Concerts, Inc. (CCI) for comment. In its written comments, CCI stated that its Board of Directors will take appropriate action to address this recommendation.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    9 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide agencies access to SSA's more complete set of death data, Congress should consider amending the Social Security Act to explicitly allow SSA to share its full death file with Treasury for use through the DNP working system.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken we will update. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that additional relevant databases are identified and evaluated for inclusion in the DNP working system, the Director of OMB should develop, document, and communicate a formal process that user agencies can use to identify, suggest, and receive feedback on additional databases to be evaluated for inclusion in the DNP working system.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB agreed with this recommendation and cited plans to implement it. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that the DNP working system is used effectively and consistently, the Director of OMB should develop guidance that clarifies whether the use of DNP's payment integration functionality is required and--if required--the circumstances and process in which agencies may obtain an exemption from this requirement.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB agreed with this recommendation and cited plans to implement it. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agencies use the DNP working system effectively, the Director of OMB should develop a strategy--and communicate its strategy through guidance--for how agencies should use the DNP working system to complement existing data matching processes and whether and how agencies should consider using the DNP working system to streamline existing data matching. Such guidance may cover how agencies should demonstrate that their data matching processes meet the requirements in the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012, whether agencies can decide on their own which specific databases to use, and how agencies should use the functionalities available through the DNP working system.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it generally agreed with the concept of developing a strategy for how agencies should use the Do Not Pay (DNP) working system to complement existing data matching processes and would explore the concept further. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agencies develop consistent policies and procedures to verify DNP matches, the Director of OMB should provide additional guidance that outlines when and how agencies should verify DNP matches against a secondary source and provide individuals an opportunity to contest before taking adverse actions as a result of DNP matches.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with the of consistent policies and procedures and will work with agencies so that their policies and procedures for verifying Do Not Pay (DNP) matches are developed consistently. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better monitor agency use of the DNP working system once a strategy has been developed, the Director of OMB should develop and implement monitoring mechanisms--such as goals, benchmarks, and performance measures--to evaluate agency use of the DNP working system.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with the concept of monitoring mechanisms and will continue to work with agencies to reduce improper payments and encourage agencies to establish goals to improve payment accuracy that will be monitored and evaluated by OMB. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agency-reported information on use of the DNP working system is reliable, the Director of OMB should develop a process for comparing agency reporting on the use of the DNP working system to available sources, such as OMB guidance and DNP working system adjudication reports.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with the concept of ensuring that data are reliable and will consider the feasibility of a process to compare agency submissions to available sources to reasonably assure that agency-reported information on use of the Do Not Pay (DNP) working system is reliable. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agency-reported information on use of the DNP working system is complete, the Director of OMB should revise its guidance to clarify whether agencies should report on their uses of all of the functionalities of the DNP working system in their agency financial reports.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with ensuring the completeness of data and will continue to work with agencies and the Chief Financial Officer community to ensure that agency-reported information on the use of the Do Not Pay (DNP) working system is complete. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should modify the DNP working system to track adjudication of matches obtained through all functionalities.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a memo dated April 13, 2017, the Department of Treasury (Treasury) stated that it is in the process of evaluating potential solutions to capture information on the impact of Portal functionalities (online single search, continuous monitoring, and batch matching), and has developed a plan with timeframes to assess the technical feasibility as well as user willingness to provide information. However, Treasury stated that it cannot be certain that this evaluation will identify viable solutions, and therefore cannot commit to making any modifications to the working system. Treasury explained, for instance, it may not be possible to design an effective and user-friendly strategy to capture agency decisions to remove an excluded party identified in a continuous monitoring file from a list of approved vendors. Further, Treasury explained that even if it can capture those decisions, it may be even more difficult to assign a dollar value to that decision as there would be no payment pending in this example. Nevertheless, Treasury stated that it is committed to thoroughly evaluating whether a solution is possible, and--if a solution proves feasibly--its goal is to complete a development plan for the implementation of any identified solutions by September 30, 2018.
    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: 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: Bagdoyan, Seto J
    Phone: (202) 512-4749

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider granting Labor the additional authority it is seeking to access wage data to help verify claimants' reported income and help ensure the proper payment of benefits.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No legislation introduced as of February 2017. The Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 2015 (S. 2051, title V) was introduced in the 114th Congress. It would have allowed DOL to access wage data, as GAO suggested in April 2013, from the National Directory of New Hires to improve the integrity of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act program, among other actions. If introduced in the 115th Congress and enacted, this legislation could help to prevent and detect improper payments in the Federal Employees' Compensation Act program.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202)512-7029

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that savings are realized from the implementation of an MPPR or other policies that reflect efficiencies occurring when services are furnished together, Congress may wish to consider exempting these savings from budget neutrality.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Iritani, Katherine M
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the transparency of CMS oversight and clarify and communicate the types of allowable state financing arrangements, the Administrator of CMS should provide each state CMS reviews under its initiative with specific and written explanations regarding agency determinations on the allowability of various arrangements for financing the nonfederal share of Medicaid payments and make these determinations available to all states and interested parties.

    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.