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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) assessed the relevance, timeliness, and technical adequacy of the Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) congressionally mandated research and evaluation activities; and (2) identified key internal and external factors that influenced the HCFA Office of Research and Demonstrations' (ORD) management and dissemination practices.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator, HCFA, to develop internal management procedures that will address the issues raised in this report. This would include, for example, procedures to ensure that agency communication with appropriate congressional committees is adequate during all stages of mandated studies and that ORD considers areas of congressional concern in developing its research and evaluation plans.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plan for increased communication with congressional requestors remains too vague.
Department of Health and Human Services 2. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should implement formal report review procedures designed to ensure that HHS reviews of reports to Congress will be timely.
Closed - Not Implemented
It has been more than 3 years since the report was issued.
Department of Health and Human Services 3. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator, HCFA, to assess whether ORD has sufficient staff and resources to plan, monitor, and review studies mandated by Congress, as well as those supported by discretionary funds.
Closed - Implemented
HHS still has not reached any conclusions as to resource needs.
Department of Health and Human Services 4. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should work with other executive branch agencies to develop similar procedures for reviewing HCFA reports.
Closed - Not Implemented
It has been more than 3 years since the report was issued.

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