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Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute: Review of the Audit of the Financial Statements for 2011 and 2010

GAO-12-663R Published: May 10, 2012. Publicly Released: May 10, 2012.
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What GAO Found

PCORI received an unqualified audit opinion on its 2011 and 2010 financial statements. In its audit of PCORI’s financial statements, the IPA found that the financial statements were presented fairly, in all material respects, and there was no reportable noncompliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations the IPA tested as part of its audit. However, the IPA identified a deficiency in PCORI’s internal control over financial reporting related to PCORI reporting on its receipt of appropriated funds. The IPA determined the deficiency to be significant enough to constitute a material weakness. We found no instances in which the IPA did not comply, in all material respects, with U.S. generally accepted auditing standards and generally accepted government auditing standards in the conduct of the financial statement audit. In e-mailed comments from PCORI’s Director of Finance, PCORI stated that the identified deficiency in financial reporting related to appropriations received resulted from uncertainty over differences between the federal government’s and PCORI’s fiscal years and cited action taken to adjust its records to correct the deficiency.

Why GAO Did This Study

This report presents the results of our review of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) 2011 and 2010 financial statement audit. PCORI was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as a federally funded, nonprofit corporation that is neither an agency nor establishment of the United States government. PCORI’s purpose is to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed health decisions by advancing the quality and relevance of evidence concerning the manner in which diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, monitored, and managed through research and evidence synthesis that considers variations in patient subpopulations, and the dissemination of research findings with respect to the relative health outcomes, clinical effectiveness, and appropriateness of the medical treatments, services, and other items.

PPACA requires PCORI to provide for the conduct of its financial audits on an annual basis by a private entity with expertise in conducting financial audits, and requires the Comptroller General of the United States to annually perform a review of the audit of such financial statements. We are required to report the results of our review to the Congress annually. This is the first year PCORI has prepared financial statements and contracted with an independent public accountant (IPA) to conduct the financial statement audit, and consequently, the first year in which we have reviewed the audit.

For more information, contact Steven J. Sebastian at (202) 512-3406 or

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AuditsFinancial statementsGovernment auditing standardsFinancial auditFinancial reportingInternal controlsPeer reviewFinancial managementAppropriated fundsQuality control