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Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Personnel Shortages for Federal Health Care Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Personnel supporting Federal health care programs are a resource critical to the Federal COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.  Health care facilities must be prepared for potential personnel shortages and must have plans and processes in place to mitigate these shortages to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics.  The PRAC will coordinate a review of four Federal health care programs to determine whether these programs, or the providers they reimburse, experienced shortages in health care personnel during the pandemic, the impact of those health care personnel shortages, and strategies used by the Departments to reduce shortages of health care personnel for future pandemics.

Department of Education OIG

Oklahoma’s Administration of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund Grant

The objectives of the audit were to determine whether the State of Oklahoma (Oklahoma) designed and implemented awarding processes that ensured that the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER grant) was used to support local educational agencies (LEA) and institutions of higher education (IHE) that were most significantly impacted by the coronavirus or LEAs, IHEs, or other education-related entities within the State that were deemed essential for carrying out emergency educational services; and monitoring processes to ensure that subgrantees used GEER grant funds in accordance with...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Key Insights: Identity Fraud Reduction and Redress in Pandemic Response Programs

This Insights Report highlights identity fraud related challenges in federal programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. By evaluating previous oversight work in this space from members of the PRAC’s Identity Fraud Reduction and Redress Working Group, this report presents best practices to reduce identity fraud before it occurs and to assist victims of identity fraud if it does occur. These best practices may be helpful for federal agencies to utilize moving forward. This report also identifies that across the federal government there is a larger focus on reducing identity fraud up front, while...
Department of Education OIG

Federal Student Aid's Processes for R2T4 Waivers Loan Cancellations and Pell Exclusions

The purpose of the audit is to determine whether Federal Student Aid has adequate processes (1) for students who withdrew because of the coronavirus pandemic, to waive the return of Title IV (R2T4) requirements, cancel Direct Loans received during the payment period, and exclude Pell Grants received during the payment period from Federal Pell lifetime usage; and (2) for schools to report the number and amounts of R2T4 waivers applied. 

Department of Health & Human Services OIG

Telehealth Was Critical for Providing Services to Medicare Beneficiaries During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Telehealth was critical for providing services to Medicare beneficiaries during the first year of the pandemic. Beneficiaries' use of telehealth during the pandemic also demonstrates the long-term potential of telehealth to increase access to health care for beneficiaries. Further, it shows that beneficiaries particularly benefited from the ability to use telehealth for certain services, such as behavioral health services. These findings are important for CMS, Congress, and other stakeholders to take into account as they consider making changes to telehealth in Medicare. For example, CMS could...
Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

BEST PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OF PANDEMIC RELATED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS PROGRAMS

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) is charged with conducting oversight of pandemic-related spending to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. In May 2021, we engaged MITRE, a not-for-profit federally funded research and development center, to conduct an independent study of lessons learned from the administration of pandemic-related emergency funding for unemployment insurance (UI) benefit programs in a sample of states. The objective of this study was to increase understanding of how states implemented pandemic UI benefit programs and how their...
Department of Health & Human Services OIG

The Assistant Secretary for Administration Awarded and Managed Five Sole Source Contracts for COVID-19 Testing in Accordance With Federal and Contract Requirements

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of the largest contracting agencies in the Federal Government. In fiscal year 2020, HHS awarded over $14 billion in contracts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of these contracts, HHS's Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA) awarded five sole source COVID-19 testing contracts to national pharmacy and grocery retail chains to provide Americans convenient access to COVID-19 testing at testing site locations throughout the United States. The contracts provided a flat-fee payment to participating retailers for each test...
Department of Education OIG

The Department’s Use of Pandemic Assistance Administration Funds

The objective of our review is to determine the Department’s progress on spending program administration funds authorized by coronavirus response and relief laws, including how those funds have been used to date and the Department’s plans for using remaining funds.