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Environmental Protection Agency OIG

EPA's Initial Plans for Returning to the Office Incorporate CDC Guidance but Differ by Location

See the additional details link below for the full report, report summary, multimedia or any agency follow-up.
U.S. Postal Service OIG

Employee Safety – Postal Service COVID-19 Response

To lead its pandemic response, the Postal Service created the COVID-19 Command Response Team at headquarters to ensure the agency followed directives and guidance from the CDC. The Postal Service implemented changes to slow the spread of the virus, manage and support affected employees, and ensure that recovered employees returned to work safely. Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak regarding the safety of its employees.
Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Enhanced Strategy Needed to Reduce Disability Exam Inventory Due to the Pandemic and Errors Related to Canceled Exams

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) provides disability benefits to veterans. On April 3, 2020, VBA discontinued all in-person disability exams that help determine the severity of medical conditions and the amount of benefits paid. The OIG conducted this review to assess how VBA scheduled and conducted exams during the pandemic to limit veterans’ exposure, minimize processing delays, and ensure claims were not prematurely denied due to missed or canceled in-person exams. The OIG also evaluated VBA’s strategy for addressing the inventory of delayed disability exams. VBA responded decisively to the pandemic by shifting exams to contractors, modifying procedures, and notifying veterans of their options. These included telehealth exams, reviews of acceptable clinical evidence, or the opportunity to wait for an in-person exam with the assurance that no final action would be taken until in-person exams could be completed. However, VBA and the OIG identified claims prematurely or improperly denied based on canceled exams, contrary to issued guidance. In response, VBA clarified guidance and established additional controls such as establishing a new program office focused on exam management operations and oversight. The OIG found that while the exam inventory has increased (about 1.5 million exams needed as of July 31), the percentage of errors decreased with clearer guidance. Still, VBA must further develop, implement, and test its strategy for reducing the growing inventory of pending exams while handling incoming exam requests. The plan must incorporate lessons from COVID-19 responses to ensure continuity of exam processing and to prepare for future national emergencies. VBA concurred with the OIG’s two recommendations to further develop, implement, and test the strategy to reduce the exam inventory and to implement a plan increasing the use of telehealth exams and ensuring contractors follow VBA guidance. (Click here for related infographic.)
Department of Health & Human Services OIG

Opioid Treatment Programs Reported Challenges Encountered During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Actions Taken To Address Them

The United States currently faces two nationwide public health emergencies: the opioid crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the opioid crisis because individuals with an opioid use disorder may be at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and serious consequences from that disease. In response to the pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) granted opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and States increased flexibilities to ensure the delivery of OTP services and to protect patients and staff from COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible. To obtain information on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on OTPs, we conducted interviews with 142 OTPs. Our objectives were to identify: (1) challenges that OTPs have encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) actions that OTPs have taken to address those challenges while ensuring the continuity of needed services and protecting the health and safety of their patients and staff.
Environmental Protection Agency OIG

CSB Discontinued Information Recovery Testing and Off-Site Backup Storage During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Agile Products Toolkit

This toolkit identifies and defines four primary situations where your office may want to consider using an agile product. Consider these guidelines, best practices and lessons learned while conducting, completing, and issuing reports or other work products.