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A Walk on the Sweet Side

Posted on February 14, 2020

Love is a complicated concept. Artists, poets, and everyone else have struggled forever trying to express those challenging ideas that are often so hard to decipher.  

We at GAO know a thing or two about taking complex ideas and making them understandable and actionable. Take it from us this Valentine’s Day: nothing cuts to the chase like the expressions on candy hearts. So, “swipe right” on us and let us show you how candy hearts can help you get to the heart of the matter of some of our recent reports.


Watchdog valentine

Finding the right match in medical records

Calling 1-800 Cupid to find your match? You’re not the only one needing help! We’ve found that it can be difficult for health care providers to match electronic medical records to the right patient. And a bad match in this area can have serious consequences. While we’re no matchmakers, we did explore possible solutions, such as requiring a specific format for recording a patient’s name and address, and sharing best practices for record-matching.

Tax debt and federal contracting

Before you Say Yes, do they have tax debt? It’s an important question in the world of federal contracting! Federal agencies are required by law to consider a businesses’ tax debts before awarding contracts. However, we reviewed the Departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Army and Navy, and found that they may have inappropriately awarded more than 1,800 contracts to businesses with tax debts in 2015 and 2016. We recommended that these agencies enhance their processes for reviewing tax debt before awarding contracts.


The green book will ensure your program integrity, valentine

Sustainable chemistry

Sure you and your Love Bug have chemistry—but is it sustainable chemistry? While chemistry contributes to virtually every aspect of modern life—including  medicines, personal care products, and other everyday items—chemical processes and production can have negative health and environmental consequences. Our report discusses the concept of “sustainable chemistry” and identifies technologies that can improve sustainability at different stages of the chemical life cycle.


2 beakers labeled "love" and "sustainability" pouring into a heart-shaped world

 Curbing scammer calls

You’ve just settled in for a quiet evening with your Sweet Stuff when you get the dreaded robocall complete with fake—“spoofed”—caller ID. Talk about a mood spoiler! Before your next date night, check out our report on what the federal government is doing to protect you and your sweetheart from scammers, including supporting a new industry-developed system to detect spoofing. Plus, get a few tips on avoiding spoofing scams.


candy hearts

Preparing for potential livestock disease outbreak

You and me, a candlelit steak dinner, followed by a chocolate mousse dessert—that’s my valentine Recipe 4 Love. What’s not part of my romantic plan? Foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious livestock disease (which thankfully, rarely infects humans!) that greatly reduces meat and milk production. And while the U.S. hasn’t had an outbreak in nearly 100 years, outbreaks abroad have cost billions of dollars since 2001. We found that USDA has conducted exercises, but hasn’t prioritized preparedness improvements—and many remain incomplete. We recommended that USDA prioritize and monitor these improvements.

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