GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.
GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention.
We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues.
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Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations.
Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.
As of February 9, 2020, there are 4958 open recommendations, of which 422 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To help ensure that timely primary care is available and accessible to AI/AN people, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Director of IHS to monitor patient wait times in its federally operated facilities and ensure corrective actions are taken when standards are not met.
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. IHS officials stated that they are updating the agency's patient wait time policy to include emergency department wait times, and is working to automate and aggregate the reporting of patient wait time data for effective monitoring. Once the standards are fully developed and monitoring is underway, IHS will also need to ensure corrective actions are taken when standards are not met. We will assess HHS's actions once completed.
Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to monitor the full amount of time newly enrolled veterans wait to be seen by primary care providers, starting with the date veterans request they be contacted to schedule appointments. This could be accomplished, for example, by building on the data collection efforts currently being implemented under the "Welcome to VA" program.
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In March 2016, GAO recommended that VA monitor the full amount of time newly enrolled veterans wait to be seen by primary care providers, starting with the date veterans request they be contacted to schedule appointments. VA concurred with this recommendation, and in June 2017, reported to GAO that it had taken actions to address it. Specifically, VA indicated that it revised an internal report to help identify and document all newly enrolled veterans and monitor their appointment request status. The report is intended to enable VHA and its medical centers to oversee the enrollment and appointment process by tracking the following timeframes: (1) application to enrollment, (2) enrollment to initial contact, (3) initial contact to primary care appointment, and (4) total time from application to primary care appointment. However, VA also indicated in its response that it did not have data that captures application dates for all newly enrolled veterans. As such, the report could not be used to consistently monitor the full amount of time these veterans wait to be seen by primary care providers. In January 2018, VA reported developing and implementing technical enhancements to its electronic systems that will enable it to capture the application date for all newly enrolled veterans. In April 2018, VA reported that it expects that these enhancements will be fully implemented by December 2019. In December 2018, VA reported that it has continued its efforts to implement technical enhancements to its electronic system and reaffirmed the date it expects to fully address this recommendation. Once VA reports having implemented this recommendation, we will assess any documentation provided to determine whether the agency's actions are sufficient to close this recommendation.