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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed challenges facing the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), focusing on: (1) how long it takes to process a claim through VICP; (2) the extent to which recent changes to the program's injury table have made it easier or more difficult for petitioners to obtain compensation for vaccine-related injuries; and (3) why the trust fund continues to grow, and what budgetary effect proposed options for addressing the growing trust fund balance would have.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of HHS should develop and apply a consistent methodology for evaluating and reporting on the various factors used to add or remove injuries from VICP's injury table. This methodology should include specific scientific and public policy considerations and their relative weight in the decisionmaking process and should be applied to any future table changes.
Closed - Not Implemented
HHS disagreed with GAO's recommendation, and did not implement it when it made recent changes to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Table.

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