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VA Health Care: Improved Oversight and Compliance Needed for Physician Credentialing and Privileging Processes

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "VA has policies to ensure that physicians have appropriate qualifications and clinical abilities through the processes of credentialing, privileging, and continuous monitoring of performance. Results of a VA investigatory report in 2008 cited deficiencies in the Marion, Illinois, VA medical center's (VAMC) credentialing and privileging processes and oversight of its surgical program. This report examines VA's policies and guidance to help ensure that information about physician qualifications and performance is accurate and complete, VAMCs' compliance with selected VA credentialing and privileging policies, and their implementation of VA policies to continuously monitor performance. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed VA's policies, interviewed VA officials, and reviewed a judgmental sample of 30 credentialing and privileging files at each of six VAMCs that GAO visited. GAO selected the files to ensure inclusion of highly paid specialties, newly hired physicians, and other physician characteristics. GAO selected the judgmental sample of six VAMCs based on geographic balance and other factors."
Date: January 6, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Briefing on Commercial and Department of Defense Space System Requirements and Acquisition Practices

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) has had long-standing difficulties developing and delivering space systems on time and within budget. Some programs have been delayed by years and cost billions of dollars more than their initial estimates. Attempts to reform DOD space acquisitions in the past have sought to leverage commercial approaches or rely more on the commercial sector to meet DOD needs. These efforts have not been successful and, in some cases, have exacerbated problems, particularly with respect to oversight. In view of past challenges with adopting commercial approaches, Congress requested an examination of the following questions: (1) What are the differences between commercial and national security space system missions, requirements, and technology development? (2) What acquisition practices adopted by commercial companies could be used for national security space system acquisitions? (3) Which acquisition practices adopted by commercial companies may not be readily adaptable for national security space system acquisitions?"
Date: January 14, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Energy: Actions Needed to Develop High-Quality Cost Estimates for Construction and Environmental Cleanup Projects

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE) spends billions of dollars on construction projects--those that maintain nuclear weapons, conduct research, and process nuclear waste--and projects that clean up nuclear and hazardous wastes at DOE's sites; these projects are largely executed by contractors. DOE has struggled to keep these projects within cost and schedule estimates. GAO was asked to assess (1) DOE's cost-estimating policies and guidance, (2) the extent to which selected projects' cost estimates reflect best practices compiled in GAO's cost-estimating guide, and (3) DOE's recent actions to improve cost estimating. GAO reviewed relevant documents, including support for cost estimates at three major construction projects--those costing $750 million or more--and one environmental cleanup project, and interviewed DOE officials."
Date: January 14, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disaster Assistance: Federal Assistance for Permanent Housing Primarily Benefited Homeowners; Opportunities Exist to Better Target Rental Housing Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In response to the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, Congress provided about $130 billion in disaster recovery assistance, including assistance for permanent housing. Congress has expressed an interest in how this assistance has been allocated to homeowners and rental property owners, particularly for state-administered programs. GAO's objectives were to review (1) how federal disaster-related assistance for permanent housing has been provided to homeowners and rental property owners, (2) the extent to which federally funded programs have responded to the needs of homeowners and rental property owners, and (3) the challenges that homeowners and rental property owners have faced in applying for and using federal assistance, and potential options for addressing these challenges. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed documentation for key programs and program data, and interviewed federal, state, and local officials regarding the challenges associated with these programs."
Date: January 14, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Surface Coal Mining: Financial Assurances for, and Long-Term Oversight of, Mines with Valley Fills in Four Appalachian States

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Surface mining for coal in Appalachia has generated opposition because rock and dirt from mountaintops is often removed and placed in nearby valleys and streams. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) in the Department of the Interior and states with approved programs regulate these mines under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and states also regulate different aspects of coal mining, including the filling of valley streams, under the Clean Water Act. Under SMCRA, mine operators must provide financial assurances sufficient to allow mines to be reclaimed. Under the Clean Water Act, the Corps may require financial assurances that the impact of mines on streams can be mitigated. GAO was asked to examine (1) the approaches OSM, the states, and the Corps have taken to obtain financial assurances for surface coal mines with valley fills; (2) federal and state agencies' monitoring of these mines after reclamation and mitigation are complete; and (3) the federal laws agencies may use, and have used, to address latent environmental problems. GAO gathered information from state and federal agencies in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia about their financial assurances practices, long-term monitoring, and use of federal laws to address environmental impacts at former mine sites. This report makes no recommendations."
Date: January 14, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Results-Oriented Cultures: Office of Personnel Management Should Review Administrative Law Judge Program to Improve Hiring and Performance Management

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Administrative Procedure Act established unique conditions for administrative law judges' (ALJ) hiring and employment to protect their decisional independence. However, the potential for a wave of retirements and other events have focused attention on how ALJs are hired and managed. In response to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, this report examines, among other things, (1) the process for hiring ALJs and selected agencies' observations of the process; (2) ALJs' retirement eligibility and retirement issues; (3) and agency managers' reported ALJ performance management practices and stakeholders' views of these practices. To address these objectives GAO reviewed relevant statutes, regulations, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) retirement-related data, and other program-related documents, and interviewed officials from OPM, ALJ professional associations, and the two largest federal agencies employing ALJs--the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."
Date: January 15, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicaid and CHIP: Enrollment, Benefits, Expenditures, and Other Characteristics of State Premium Assistance Programs

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Fiscal pressures, rising health care costs, and increases in the number of uninsured may lead states to look toward public-private partnerships to help finance health insurance coverage. Through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), states have had long-standing authority to operate premium assistance programs that subsidize the purchase of private health insurance. Enacted in February 2009, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), which reauthorized CHIP and made changes to Medicaid, provided states with additional options for operating premium assistance programs. As of November 2009, states had not implemented premium assistance programs under the new authorities provided by CHIPRA, but, as allowed by CHIPRA, states were continuing to operate their programs under preexisting authorities. Through premium assistance programs, states use Medicaid funds, CHIP funds, or both to subsidize the cost of private health insurance--such as employer-sponsored insurance (ESI)--for eligible individuals. As such, premium assistance programs contrast with direct coverage, where states provide Medicaid or CHIP benefits to enrollees by paying doctors and other providers directly or contracting with managed care organizations. Previous reports on premium assistance programs have described the programs' potential benefits, as well as potential issues that have been raised about them. One potential benefit reported is that premium assistance programs could generate cost savings for Medicaid and CHIP by leveraging private financial resources for health insurance coverage--such as employer contributions--and decreasing enrollment in direct coverage. Additional potential benefits include helping families make the transition to private health insurance, expanding coverage to family members who are not themselves eligible for coverage under Medicaid or CHIP, and supporting the private insurance market. In contrast, a reported issue with premium assistance programs is that there may be disparities in the benefits and ...
Date: January 19, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Status of the Small Business Administration's Implementation of Administrative Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Due to recent turmoil in U.S. credit markets, many lenders have been reluctant to offer conventional loans--that is, loans not guaranteed by the federal government--to small businesses so that they can finance their operations and capital needs. While the Small Business Administration's (SBA) principal loan guarantee programs, the 7(a) and 504 programs, are intended to help small businesses raise critical financing that they may have difficulty obtaining from other sources, the availability of such loans has also declined. Under the 7(a) program, SBA traditionally has provided lenders guarantees on up to 85 percent of the value of loans to qualifying small businesses in exchange for fees to help offset the costs of the program. Under the 504 program, which generally applies to small business real estate and other fixed assets, SBA provides certified development companies with a guarantee on up to 40 percent of the financing of the projects' costs in exchange for fees--the small business borrowers and other lenders provide the remaining 60 percent of the financing on an unguaranteed basis. Traditionally, lenders, such as banks, that participate in the 7(a) or 504 programs often sell qualifying small business loans on the 7(a) and 504 secondary markets to raise funds necessary for additional lending. However, from mid-2008 to early-2009, investors that had typically purchased securities collateralized by the pools of 7(a) guaranteed small business loans and certain 504 loans largely withdrew from the secondary markets due to potential losses, and as a result, many such loans remained on the balance sheets of the broker-dealers that package the securities or on the balance sheets of the original lenders. According to SBA, the dollar volume of 7(a) loans sold as securities on the secondary market dropped from $425.4 million ...
Date: January 19, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Summary of GAO's Performance and Financial Information Fiscal Year 2009

Description: Other written product issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This report presents the highlights of GAO's fiscal year 2009 Performance and Accountability Report. The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the Congress, exists to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the American people. GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. To fulfill its mission, GAO organizes and manages its resources to support four broad strategic goals. These include helping to address challenges to the well-being and economic security of the American people, U.S. national and homeland security efforts, and modernizing government to meet current and emerging issues. Strategic goal 4 is an internal goal that focuses on enhancing GAO's business and administrative processes through investments in human capital, financial management, information technology, and various processes and systems needed to support the agency and the Congress. GAO maintains a workforce of highly trained professionals across a breadth of academic and scientific disciplines. About three-quarters of our approximately 3,100 employees are based at our headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the rest are deployed in 11 field offices across the country."
Date: January 21, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Border Security: Better Usage of Electronic Passport Security Features Could Improve Fraud Detection

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 2005, the Department of State (State) began issuing electronic passports (e-passports) with embedded computer chips that store information identical to that printed in the passport. By agreement with State, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) produces blank e-passport books. Two foreign companies are used by GPO to produce e-passport covers, including the computer chips embedded in them. At U.S. ports of entry, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspects passports. GAO was asked to examine potential risks to national security posed by using foreign suppliers for U.S. e-passport computer chips. This report specifically examines the following two risks: (1) Can the computer chips used in U.S. e-passports be altered or forged to fraudulently enter the United States? (2) What risk could malicious code on the U.S. e-passport computer chip pose to national security? To conduct this work, GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials at State, GPO, and DHS relating to the U.S. e-passport design and manufacturing and e-passport inspection systems and procedures."
Date: January 22, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Human Capital: Continued Opportunities Exist for FDA and OPM to Improve Oversight of Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentives

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has faced challenges in obtaining the workforce needed to support its responsibilities and similar to other agencies, has paid selected employees recruitment, relocation, and retention (3R) incentives. This report examines (1) the extent to which FDA is linking its use of 3R incentives to its strategic human capital approaches to address its current and emerging challenges; (2) the extent to which FDA's 3R incentives were awarded consistent with regulations and the internal controls FDA has in place to ensure proper disbursement of 3R incentives; and (3) the steps the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has taken to help ensure that agencies have effective oversight of their 3R incentive programs and how HHS is providing oversight. GAO analyzed a stratified sample of FDA's 3R incentives files, 3R data provided by HHS, HHS's 3R policy and FDA's guidance, and interviewed HHS, FDA, and OPM senior officials."
Date: January 22, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Preparedness: State Efforts to Plan for Medical Surge Could Benefit from Shared Guidance for Allocating Scarce Medical Resources

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Potential terrorist attacks and the possibility of naturally occurring disease outbreaks have raised concerns about the "surge capacity" of the nation's health care systems to respond to mass casualty events. The statement GAO is issuing today summarizes a June 2008 report, Emergency Preparedness: States Are Planning for Medical Surge, but Could Benefit from Shared Guidance for Allocating Scare Medical Resources (GAO-08-668). In that report, GAO was asked to examine the assistance the federal government had provided to help states prepare for medical surge and what states had done to prepare for medical surge. To do this GAO reviewed documents from the 50 states and federal agencies and interviewed officials from a judgmental sample of 20 states and from federal agencies, as well as emergency preparedness experts."
Date: January 25, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Contracting: Recent Law Has Impacted Contractor Use of Offshore Subsidiaries to Avoid Certain Payroll Taxes

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Many federal contractors establish offshore subsidiaries to take advantage of labor and market conditions. GAO has found that they also use offshore subsidiaries to reduce their U.S. tax burdens. In 2008, Congress passed the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act which resulted in contractor offshore subsidiaries paying certain payroll taxes for U.S. personnel working abroad. Fiscal year 2009's National Defense Authorization Act required GAO to report on the rationales, implications, and costs and benefits of defense contractors' use of offshore subsidiaries. We (1) assessed trends and purposes for contractors' offshore subsidiaries; (2) identified how contractors use subsidiaries to support defense contracts; (3) assessed DOD's oversight of contractors' use of offshore subsidiaries. To conduct our work, we reviewed data for the 29 U.S. publicly traded contractors with at least $1 billion in DOD spending in fiscal year 2008, reviewed several illustrative contracts selected based on categories of DOD services most often performed overseas, reviewed audit documents, and interviewed DOD officials about oversight."
Date: January 26, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

DOD Assessments of Supplier-Base Availability for Future Defense Needs

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on thousands of suppliers to ensure it has the weapons and supporting equipment needed to meet U.S. national security objectives. Congress has provided DOD with a variety of authorities to allow it to maintain information on its suppliers and to take actions to ensure that its suppliers can deliver needed items. In October 2008, we reported on our assessment of DOD's efforts to monitor the health of its supplier base and identify and address gaps and recommended that DOD develop a departmentwide framework and consistent approach, which DOD has begun to implement. In light of increased globalization in the defense industry and consolidation of the defense supplier base into a few prime contractors, Congress requested that we review DOD's efforts to assess supplier-base availability for future defense needs."
Date: January 27, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Education Funding: Overview of K-12 and Early Childhood Education Programs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The federal government invests in the education of children, in part, to help ensure that the United States has a well-educated and skilled workforce to compete in the global marketplace. The federal government accounts for about nine percent of the total investment in K-12 education, with state and local sources covering the rest. Over the last two decades there have been a number of efforts to catalogue and determine how much is spent on federal education programs. However, because education programs are administered by agencies throughout the federal government, and there is no standard definition of a federal education program, there currently is no single source that legislators and policymakers can refer to for an accounting of federal education programs. To address Congressional interest in these issues, we answered the following questions: (1) What is the federal expenditure on K-12 and early childhood education programs? (2) What are the characteristics of these programs? (3) To what extent have these programs completed evaluations?"
Date: January 27, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Better Use of Terrorist Watchlist Information and Improvements in Deployment of Passenger Screening Checkpoint Technologies Could Further Strengthen Security

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The December 25, 2009, attempted bombing of flight 253 raised questions about the federal government's ability to protect the homeland and secure the commercial aviation system. This statement focuses on the government's efforts to use the terrorist watchlist to screen individuals and determine if they pose a threat, and how failures in this process contributed to the December 25 attempted attack. This statement also addresses the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) planned deployment of technologies for enhanced explosive detection and the challenges associated with this deployment. GAO's comments are based on products issued from September 2006 through October 2009 and selected updates in January 2010. For these updates, GAO reviewed government reports related to the December 25 attempted attack and obtained information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA on use of the watchlist and new technologies for screening airline passengers."
Date: January 27, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

National Transportation Safety Board: Issues Related to the 2010 Reauthorization

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), whose reauthorization is the subject of today's hearing, plays a vital role in advancing transportation safety by investigating accidents, determining their causes, issuing safety recommendations, and conducting safety studies. To support the agency's mission, NTSB's Training Center provides training to NTSB investigators and others. NTSB's 2006 reauthorization legislation mandates an annual review by GAO, and from 2006 through 2008, GAO made 21 recommendations to NTSB that address its management, information technology (IT), accident investigation criteria, safety studies, and Training Center use. This testimony addresses NTSB's progress in implementing GAO's recommendations that it (1) follow leading management practices, (2) conduct aspects of its accident investigations and safety studies more efficiently, and (3) increase the use of its Training Center. The testimony also discusses (4) changes NTSB seeks in its 2010 reauthorization proposal. This testimony is based on GAO's assessment from July 2009 to January 2010 of plans and procedures NTSB developed to address these recommendations. NTSB provided technical comments that GAO incorporated as appropriate."
Date: January 27, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil and Gas Bonds: Bonding Requirements and BLM Expenditures to Reclaim Orphaned Wells

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 directs the Department of the Interior (Interior) to manage lands for multiple uses while also taking any action to prevent "unnecessary or undue degradation" of the land. To do this, Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), among other things, requires oil and gas operators to reclaim the land they disturb and post a bond to help ensure they do so. Despite these requirements, not all operators perform reclamation. If the bond is not sufficient to cover well plugging and surface reclamation and there are no responsible or liable parties, the well is considered "orphaned," and BLM uses federal dollars to fund reclamation. The 12 western states where most oil and gas production occurs and other Interior agencies also require bonds to ensure reclamation. GAO was asked to (1) determine the number, value, and coverage of bonds held by BLM for oil and gas operations; (2) determine the amount that BLM has paid to reclaim orphaned wells over the past 20 years and the number of orphaned wells BLM has identified but has not yet reclaimed; and (3) compare BLM's bonding requirements for oil and gas operations with those the 12 western states use for oil and gas operations on state and private lands and other Interior agencies' bonding requirements for other resources. Among other things, GAO analyzed BLM data on wells and BLM-held bonds, and interviewed BLM officials."
Date: January 27, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisitions: Status of DOD's Implementation of Independent Management Reviews for Services Acquisitions

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) is the federal government's largest purchaser of contractor-provided services, obligating more than $207 billion on services contracts in fiscal year 2009. DOD contract management has been on GAO's high-risk list since 1992, in part because of continued weaknesses in DOD's management and oversight of contracts for services. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed DOD to issue guidance providing for independent management reviews for services acquisitions. The Act required that the guidance provide a means to evaluate specific contracting issues and to address other issues, including identifying procedures for tracking recommendations and disseminating lessons learned. The Act also directed GAO to report on DOD's implementation of its guidance. GAO (1) assessed the extent to which DOD's guidance addressed the Act's requirements and how the guidance was implemented and (2) determined the status of actions taken by the military departments pursuant to DOD's guidance. GAO compared DOD's guidance with the Act's requirements; obtained data on the number of reviews conducted as of September 2009; and analyzed memoranda of 29 acquisitions valued at over $1 billion. In its written comments, DOD noted it planned to refine its processes to better share the lessons learned and best practices identified during peer reviews."
Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Contracting: DOD Has Enhanced Insight into Undefinitized Contract Action Use, but Management at Local Commands Needs Improvement

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To meet urgent needs, DOD can issue undefinitized contract actions (UCA), which authorize contractors to begin work before reaching a final agreement on contract terms. Such actions are considered to be a risky contract vehicle for the government because contractors lack incentives to control costs during this period. Defense regulations provide that the government determination of contractors' allowable profit or fee should reflect any reduced cost risk. Pursuant to the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, GAO assessed whether DOD actions taken as required by the act have (1) improved departmental insight and oversight of UCA use and (2) resulted in local commands meeting DOD's standards for documenting the basis for negotiating the contractor profit or fee, definitization timelines, and obligation amounts. GAO reviewed relevant DOD regulations and policies, and contract files for 83 randomly-selected UCAs totaling $6.1 billion at eight local commands. The findings from this contract file review can not be generalized across DOD."
Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electronic Health Records: DOD and VA Interoperability Efforts Are Ongoing; Program Office Needs to Implement Recommended Improvements

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 required the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to accelerate their exchange of health information and to develop capabilities that allow for interoperability (generally, the ability of systems to exchange data) by September 30, 2009. It also required compliance with federal standards and the establishment of a joint interagency program office to function as a single point of accountability for the effort. Further, the act directed GAO to semiannually report on the progress made in achieving these requirements. For this fourth report, GAO determined the extent to which (1) DOD and VA developed and implemented electronic health record systems or capabilities that allowed for full interoperability by September 30, 2009, and (2) the interagency program office established by the act is functioning as a single point of accountability. To do so, GAO analyzed agency documentation on project status and conducted interviews with agency officials."
Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Health: High-level Strategy and Leadership Needed to Continue Progress toward Protecting Children from Environmental Threats

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Exposure to toxic chemicals or environmental pollutants may harm the health of the nation's 74 million children and contribute to increases in asthma and developmental impairments. In 2007, 66 percent of children lived in counties exceeding allowable levels for at least one of the six principal air pollutants that cause or aggravate asthma, contributing to medical costs of $3.2 billion per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1997, Executive Order 13045 mandated that agencies place a high priority on children's risks and required that policies, programs, activities, and standards address those risks. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Office of Children's Health Protection and convened the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee. This report assesses the extent to which EPA has institutionalized consideration of children's health through (1) strategies and priorities, (2) key offices and other child-focused resources, and (3) participation in interagency efforts. GAO reviewed numerous documents and met with EPA and other officials for this report."
Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Recruiting: Clarified Reporting Requirements and Increased Transparency Could Strengthen Oversight over Recruiter Irregularities

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To sustain a viable military force, the Department of Defense (DOD) depends on recruiting several hundred thousand qualified individuals into the military each year. The service components rely on their recruiters to act with the utmost integrity because even a single incident of wrongdoing on the part of a recruiter--a recruiter irregularity--can adversely affect the service components' ability to recruit qualified individuals. GAO was asked to (1) analyze data on reported cases of recruiter irregularities across the service components, (2) review the extent to which the service components have guidance and procedures to address recruiter irregularities, and (3) review the extent to which the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has oversight over recruiter irregularities. GAO analyzed the data on recruiter irregularities reported to OSD by the service components; reviewed the service components' recruiter irregularity case files; examined relevant guidance and procedures from the service components; and interviewed service components' recruiting command personnel, recruiters, and OSD officials."
Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coast Guard: Service Has Taken Steps to Address Historic Personnel Problems, but It Is too Soon to Assess the Impact of These Efforts

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "During this decade, the Coast Guard has been challenged with expanded mission responsibilities, and concerns have been raised about whether sufficient personnel exist within the Coast Guard to fulfill these mission responsibilities. The terrorist attacks of September 11th resulted in additional and expanded security-related mission areas, while major natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, provided lessons learned in allocating personnel and other resources across Coast Guard units. However, the impact of expanding Coast Guard missions and the increasing nationwide need for mission-ready Coast Guard units underscored shortcomings in the Coast Guard's ability to effectively allocate resources, such as personnel, ensure readiness levels, and maintain mission competency. GAO, the Offices of Inspector General at first the Department of Transportation and then the Department of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, Congress, and the Coast Guard itself have reported on these types of personnel concerns both before and after the 2001 attacks. Commenting on the Coast Guard's fiscal year 2009 appropriations, congressional appropriators noted in a Senate Appropriations Committee Report that while the Coast Guard workforce is approximately the same size today as it was at the end of fiscal year 1975, its present mission responsibilities are greater. For example, the congressional appropriators reported that the number of foreign vessel arrivals in the United States increased by 61 percent over the last 10 years while the number of marine inspectors responsible for inspecting these vessels decreased by 1 percent. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee Report, however, the Coast Guard has not completed the necessary human resource requirements analysis to address the increases in its personnel needs. Further, a number of GAO's reports and others have noted problems the Coast Guard has had allocating its personnel and other resources ...
Date: January 29, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department