Review of HEW Guidelines for Acquiring Automatic Data Processing Systems Under the Social Security Act

HRD-79-126: Published: Oct 2, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 1979.

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GAO was requested to review requirements governing federally funded automatic data processing (ADP) systems acquisitions with regard to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) requirements on States procuring and using computers to administer programs under the Social Security Act. Nine ADP procurements in five States were reviewed with respect to the procurement methods used.

GAO found that Federal law does not require that HEW follow the specific procedures it is using to review and approve proposed computer acquisitions by States. If Congress desires to change the HEW regulations governing ADP acquisitions by States, it could do so by enacting specific legislation. GAO believes that such legislation is not needed to reduce expenditures for ADP systems because existing HEW regulations do not appear to constrain States from making economical computer acquisitions. Although HEW requires the maximum of practical competition, it permits other methods if a State can demonstrate that they are more economical.

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