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Highlights of a Forum: Preventing Illicit Drug Use
GAO-17-146SP: Published: Nov 14, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 2016.
What Forum Participants SaidIn individual presentations and group discussion, participants in a forum that GAO convened identified the common factors related to illicit drug use--the use of illicit drugs and the misuse of prescription drugs. According to forum participants, illicit drug use typically occurs for the first time in adolescence and involves marijuana. Forum participants also discussed...
Emergency Funding for Ebola Response: Some USAID Reimbursements Did Not Comply with Legislative Requirements and Need to Be Reversed
GAO-17-35: Published: Nov 2, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 2, 2016.
As of July 1, 2016, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State (State) had obligated 58 percent and disbursed more than one-third of the $2.5 billion appropriated for Ebola activities. In the early stages of the U.S. response in West Africa, USAID obligated $883 million to control the outbreak, and State obligated $34 million for medical evacuations, among ot...
Opioid Addiction: Laws, Regulations, and Other Factors Can Affect Medication-Assisted Treatment Access
GAO-16-833: Published: Sep 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 2016.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has stated that addressing opioid abuse is a high priority and is promoting access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT)--an approach that combines behavioral therapy and the use of medications--to combat the problem. Three medications are currently approved for use in MAT for opioid addiction--methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Methadone a...
VA Health Care: Processes to Evaluate, Implement, and Monitor Organizational Structure Changes Needed
GAO-16-803: Published: Sep 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 2016.
Recent internal and external reviews of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) operations have identified deficiencies in its organizational structure and recommended changes that would require significant restructuring to address, including eliminating and consolidating program offices and reducing VHA central office staff. However, VHA does not have a process that ensures recommended organizationa...
Breast Cancer Education: HHS Has Implemented Initiatives Aimed at Young Women
GAO-17-19: Published: Oct 20, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2016.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has led federal efforts to respond to four areas specified in the Young Women's Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act of 2009 (EARLY Act). CDC reported spending nearly $37 million between fiscal years 2010 to 2016 on the following efforts across the four areas...
Medicare: CMS's Round 2 Durable Medical Equipment and National Mail-order Diabetes Testing Supplies Competitive Bidding Programs
GAO-16-570: Published: Sep 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2016.
The number of beneficiaries receiving durable medical equipment (DME) items covered under the competitive bidding program (CBP) generally decreased after implementation of two CBP phases that began July 1, 2013—round 2 and the national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies. Under the CBP, (administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)), only competitively selected...
Health Care Quality: HHS Should Set Priorities and Comprehensively Plan Its Efforts to Better Align Health Quality Measures
GAO-17-5: Published: Oct 13, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 13, 2016.
While the full extent of misalignment among health care quality measures is unknown, it can have adverse effects on providers and efforts to improve quality of care. Misalignment occurs when health care payers require providers to report on measures that focus on different quality issues or define the measures using different specifications. GAO identified three studies that provided some informat...
Skilled Nursing Facilities: CMS Should Improve Accessibility and Reliability of Expenditure Data
GAO-16-700: Published: Sep 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 6, 2016.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that administers Medicare—collects and reports expenditure data from skilled nursing facilities (SNF), but it has not taken key steps to make the data readily accessible to public stakeholders or to ensure their reliability. SNFs are required to self-report their expenditures...
Medicaid Fee-For-Service: State Resources Vary for Helping Beneficiaries Find Providers
GAO-16-809: Published: Aug 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2016.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as of July 2014, over 40 percent of nearly 71 million Medicaid beneficiaries were in fee-for-service (FFS) arrangements—traditional FFS and primary care case management—in which participating providers are paid for each delivered service (e.g., an office visit, test, or procedure). The percentage of beneficiaries in FFS arrangeme...
NIH Biomedical Research: Agencies Involved in the Indirect Cost Rate-Setting Process Need to Improve Controls
GAO-16-616: Published: Sep 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2016.
Research organizations that apply for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding participate in an indirect cost rate-setting process, which involves submitting a rate proposal; reviewing the proposal and having it audited by a third-party agency at the cognizant agency's request; and finalizing (negotiating) the rate for the organization. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Departm...