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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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: The Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should develop processes and procedures to ensure that qualified entities and researchers have implemented information security controls effectively throughout their agreements with CMS. (Recommendation 3)
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: HHS previously stated that they will be engaging a contractor to review the current data security framework and make recommendations on specific controls and implementation requirements that would be appropriate for those entities. The agency did not provide a timeframe for when this review would be complete. As of May 2019, HHS had not provided any further information in response to our inquiries.
Recommendation: To improve care for women veterans, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to monitor women veterans' access to key sex-specific care services--mammography, maternity care, and gynecology--under current and future community care contracts. For those key services, monitoring should include an examination of appointment scheduling and completion times, driving times to appointments, and reasons appointments could not be scheduled with community providers.
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: As of June 2017, VHA still lacks data and performance measures for the availability under Choice of sex-specific care, such as mammograms, maternity care, or gynecology. In contrast, for another VA care in the community program, PC3 (a program that the Choice third party administrators also administer) VHA collects data and has performance measures to evaluate women veterans' access to mammography and maternity care. To fully implement this recommendation, VHA needs to extend the collection of data to include care delivered through the Choice Program and other community care programs and establish related performance measures. VA is in the process of letting contracts for its new community care program and is expected to have contracts in place for all regions of the country in fiscal year 2019
Recommendation: To improve transparency and better ensure that face recognition capabilities are being used in accordance with privacy protection laws and policy requirements, the Attorney General should assess the SORN development process to determine why a SORN was not published that addressed the collection and maintenance of photos accessed and used through NGI for the FBI's face recognition capabilities prior to using NGI-IPS, and implement corrective actions to ensure SORNs are published before systems become operational.
Agency: Department of Justice Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOJ agreed, in part, with our recommendation and submitted the SORN for publication to the Federal Register on April 21, 2016, and it was published on May 5, 2016. In June 2019, DOJ officials told us that they had recently applied the pilot program for expediting the PIA review process to the way that DOJ develops and reviews SORNs. DOJ subsequently documented in its July 2019 memorandum for the record the requirement that the DOJ Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL) is to provide comments or approval within 30 days of the FBI submitting a draft SORN to DOJ OPCL for review. The memorandum also outlines a more direct and expedient process for resolving feedback and finalizing drafts. Further, the memorandum provides that after DOJ approves an FBI SORN, it will begin the formal publication process, in accordance with the law and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policy. DOJ officials told us that the intent of the July 2019 memorandum was to make changes to the current process that would permit DOJ to more efficiently and effectively facilitate all aspects of SORN development within its purview prior to submission to OMB. DOJ and FBI officials stated that it is their goal to consistently publish SORNs before a system's implementation. We believe that DOJ's efforts to begin establishing a more streamlined review process for SORNs is a positive step and continue to monitor this recent pilot to determine whether these efforts help ensure SORNs are published before systems become operational.
Recommendation: To better ensure that face recognition systems are sufficiently accurate, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation should conduct an operational review of NGI-IPS at least annually that includes an assessment of the accuracy of face recognition searches to determine if it is meeting federal, state, and local law enforcement needs and take actions, as necessary, to improve the system.
Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In July 2019 the FBI reported that it has designed a Face Recognition Test Strategy for Operational Analysis with the objective of being able to perform an annual operational review of NGI-IPS. The FBI plans to develop and test the operational review in fiscal year 2020. Additionally, FBI submitted a paper to solicit feedback from users through the Fall 2016 Advisory Policy Board Process to solicit information on whether the face recognition searches of the NGI-IPS are meeting user needs, and input regarding search accuracy. FBI officials reported that they repeated this process in 2017 and 2018. According to FBI officials, no users expressed concern with any aspect of the NGI-IPS meeting their needs, including accuracy. Although FBI's action of providing working groups with a paper presenting GAO's recommendation is a step, the FBI's actions do not fully meet the recommendation. The FBI's paper was presented as informational, and did not result in any formal responses from users. To fully implement the recommendation, the FBI should finalize its testing plans and conduct the operational review of face recognition searches at least annually. We will continue to monitor implementation of this recommendation.