Administration on Aging:

Operations Have Been Strengthened but Weaknesses Remain

PEMD-92-27: Published: Jun 11, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the organizational changes that have taken place in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and how they have affected the Administration on Aging (AOA).

GAO found that: (1) in April 1991, HHS elevated the status of AOA within its organizational structure, making AOA responsible for performing all of the administrative functions that the Office of Human Development Services had previously performed; (2) to facilitate the performance of its new administrative functions and to allow AOA to function independently, AOA received 33 new full-time-equivalent staff for fiscal year (FY) 1992; (3) since the elevation of AOA to the level of an operating division, the Commissioner on Aging is at least nominally equal to the heads of other HHS divisions, giving the Commissioner authority over AOA resources and greater leverage to deal with the Secretary and other division heads; (4) since its enhanced status, AOA has filled key leadership positions that had long been vacant, secured more travel funds, and formulated plans to enhance its program; and (5) AOA oversight capabilities remain in question, its expertise in the regions has not been enhanced, its plans to address certain program responsibilities may be inadequate, and its responsibilities must be better harmonized with its program funding and the increased demand for services by the growing population of elderly.