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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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 Secretary of HHS should expeditiously develop a plan--that includes priorities, timeframes, clear roles and responsibilities, and methods for assessing progress--to effectively implement the NAS-related recommendations identified in the Protecting Our Infants Act: Final Strategy. (Recommendation 1)
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. HHS' Behavioral Health Coordinating Council finalized a plan for implementing the Strategy in 2019 . The plan includes priorities, timeframes, and clear roles and responsibilities for implementing NAS-related recommendations in the Strategy. The plan does not specifically identify methods for assessing progress on the recommendations, but HHS officials told us in November 2019 that the department holds quarterly conference calls to share updates and formal written updates will be collected at the end of each year. To close this recommendation, HHS needs to provide documentation-such as, the formal written updates-to show how the department assesses progress on the recommendations.
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 help lessen confusion among the public and policy makers regarding federal data on sexual violence, the Director of OMB should establish a federal interagency forum on sexual violence statistics. The forum should consider the broad range of differences across the data collection efforts to assess which differences enhance or hinder the overall understanding of sexual violence in the United States.
Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: At the time of our report, OMB neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation but stated that it did not believe convening a forum was the most strategic use of resources because agencies were not far enough along with their data collection efforts. We disagree with OMB's assertion because 7 of the 10 data collection efforts have been in place for more than 10 years, and several have been in place for multiple decades. As of December 2019, OMB has not provided information on any new efforts to establish a federal interagency forum on sexual violence statistics.
Recommendation: To improve leadership's commitment to preventing and responding to incidents of sexual harassment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a strategy for holding individuals in positions of leadership accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing the department's sexual harassment policies and programs.
Agency: Department of Defense Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated that leadership accountability is essential to the success of the department's efforts to prevent sexual harassment. In February 2018, DOD took action toward addressing this recommendation and released an update to DOD Instruction 1020.03, Harassment Prevention and Response in the Armed Forces, that directs the Director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, to ensure that DOD components' harassment prevention and response programs incorporate, at a minimum, compliance standards for promoting, supporting, and enforcing polices, plans, and programs. The updated instruction also directs the Commandant, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, to tailor training materials to Service Member professional development levels and associated leadership duties and responsibilities. As of April 2018, DOD has not developed a strategy, as we recommended. We will monitor DOD actions on this issue
Recommendation: To enhance oversight of the department's program to help prevent and to address incidents of sexual harassment involving servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to ensure that the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity develops and aggressively implements an oversight framework to help guide the department's efforts. At a minimum, such a framework should contain long-term goals, objectives, and milestones; strategies to accomplish goals; criteria for measuring progress; and results-oriented performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the department's sexual harassment policies and programs. Such a framework should also identify and include a plan for ensuring that adequate resources are available to carry out the office's oversight responsibilities.
Agency: Department of Defense Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated that as part of its revised guidance it proposed to strengthen and institutionalize the responsibilities and authorities needed for successful implementation of the department's sexual harassment policies. In February 2018, DOD took action toward addressing this recommendation and issued an update to DOD Instruction 1020.03, Harassment Prevention and Response in the Armed Forces, that directs the Director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, to ensure that DOD components' harassment prevention and response programs incorporate , at a minimum, (1) long-term goals, objectives, and milestones; (2) results-oriented performance measures to assess effectiveness; and (3) compliance standards for promoting, supporting, and enforcing policies, plans, and programs. As of April 2018, DOD has not developed and aggressively implemented an oversight framework, as we recommended. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions.