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.
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.
University of Cincinnati’s Use of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Aid and Institutional Grants
Audit of the State of Michigan’s Administration of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) Grant
Determine whether Michigan designed and implemented (1) awarding processes that ensured that the GEER grant was used to support local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) 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 (2) monitoring processes to ensure that subgrantees used GEER grant funds in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other applicable Federal requirements.
Review of Local Educational Agencies’ Use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds for Technology
The review will cover selected LEAs’ experience with purchasing technology to continue students’ instruction as schools closed and reopened in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The review will include a survey to obtain information regarding the types of technology purchased, the impact the technology had on student learning, and the challenges LEAs faced related to the purchase and maintenance of that technology.
Immunization Information Systems (IISs) play an integral role in monitoring vaccine uptake in the population and meeting vaccination goals. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other stakeholders have long invested significant efforts to establish plans and standards to guide improvements in IISs, State, and local jurisdictions have often struggled to make these improvements. CDC's work to collect and share data on COVID-19 vaccinations relies heavily on State and local IISs working with Federal systems, but the preexisting limitations of these systems pose challenges for CDC's goal of comprehensive immunization data being made available for clinical and public health uses. This study will examine State and Federal experiences using these systems to collect, share, and monitor data on COVID-19 vaccinations, and identify lessons learned that can improve vaccination data and monitoring for future mass vaccination campaigns as well as routine vaccination programs.
Audit of Health Resources and Services Administration's COVID-19 Supplemental Grant Funding for Health Centers
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $2 billion in supplemental grant funding to 1,387 health centers nationwide in fiscal year (FY) 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funding was intended to support the health centers' activities related to the detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19, including maintaining or increasing health center capacity and staffing levels during the pandemic, and expanding COVID-19 testing. The performance period for each of these one-time supplemental grant awards, which HRSA began awarding in March 2020, is 12 months. Health centers were permitted to charge to their awards pre-award costs in order to support expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency dating back to January 20, 2020. We will determine whether health centers used their HRSA COVID-19 supplemental grant funding in accordance with Federal requirements and grant terms.
Audit of Indian Health Service's COVID-19 Vaccine Policies and Procedures for COVID-19 Vaccines Distributed to Tribal Health Programs
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations nationwide. We will focus on IHS's coordination of the distribution, allocation, and administration of the vaccine to Tribal Health Programs. The objective of this audit is to determine whether IHS followed the Memorandum of Agreement for the CDC COVID-19 Federal Agency Vaccination Program and the IHS COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine Plan to coordinate the distribution, allocation, and administration of the vaccines to Tribal Health Programs to protect AI/AN beneficiaries.
Identifying patients who are at-risk of overdose or abuse is key to addressing this crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this need even more pressing. The National Institutes of Health recently warned that individuals with opioiduse disorder could be particularly hard hit by COVID-19, which is a respiratory virus that attacks the lungs. Respiratory disease is known to increase mortality risks among people taking opioids. This data brief would provide information on opioid utilization among beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2020.
CDC Immunization and Vaccines for Children Cooperative Agreement awardees, which are typically State and large metropolitan area public health departments, plan for and oversee the vaccine distribution and administration process. Stakeholders have acknowledged challenges early in Phase 1 distribution and dispensing, and note that these challenges will likely span all three phases identified in the CDC's COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook. We will interview all awardees to identify the reported challenges they are facing while distributing and dispensing vaccines. We will also ask awardees about effective strategies to mitigate those challenges, new challenges they anticipate, and how HHS can best support them in distributing and dispensing COVID-19 vaccines. In doing so, this review will provide HHS with timely and actionable information to address challenges associated with the COVID-19 vaccination efforts.