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.
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As of April 1, 2020, there are 4994 open recommendations, of which 380 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: The Undersecretary for Health should ensure that all VISNs have implemented an academic detailing program that supports all medical facilities in the VISN and that all VHA medical facilities have a designated primary care pain champion as required. (Recommendation 4)
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: VA concurred with this recommendation and in November 2019 reported taking actions toward addressing it. VISN officials from all 18 VISNs attested to the Undersecretary for Health that each facility had designated a primary care pain champion and had implemented an academic detailing program. To fully implement this recommendation, VHA needs to ensure that its academic detailing programs regularly provide education and support to all VHA medical facilities.
Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should take steps, based on results from evaluations, to continue prior authorization. These steps could include: (1) resuming the paused home health services demonstration; (2) extending current demonstrations; or, (3) identifying new opportunities for expanding prior authorization to additional items and services with high unnecessary utilization and high improper payment rates. (Recommendation 2)
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In August 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that it concurs with this recommendation. CMS has recently taken steps to evaluate and continue its prior authorization programs. In June 2019, CMS issued a final report on the independent evaluation of the non-emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy demonstration. While the agency does not plan to conduct additional demonstrations on this service, CMS officials reported in December 2019 that the agency may consider this service for the new prior authorization process for certain hospital outpatient department services, established in a 2019 final rule. In April 2019, CMS issued a Federal Register notice that added 12 items-seven power wheelchairs and five pressure reducing support surfaces-to its required prior authorization list for the permanent program. CMS officials said in December 2019 that the agency was in the process of determining cost savings from this action and that additional items would be added to the list in early 2020. CMS resumed the home health services demonstration with changes in one state in June 2019 and in another state in September 2019. The agency plans to extend the demonstration to three additional states in 2020. In September 2019, CMS extended the repetitive scheduled non-emergency ambulance service demonstration for 1 year, through November 2020. GAO will continue to monitor issued agency guidance on the home health services demonstration and to evaluate additional steps CMS takes to evaluate and continue prior authorization in Medicare, such as determining cost savings from its actions and identifying new opportunities for prior authorization.