health and human services

Medicare failed to follow some basic safeguards in switching its paper-based health record system to electronic health records, a key part of the current administration’s plan to save millions of dollars and provide better health care, the HHS Inspector General said in a report released Thursday.

In the report, the IG for Health and Human Services said Medicare did not put in place appropriate technology tools to make sure the information provided by hospitals and doctors about their EHR implementation was accurate. At stake were financial awards given to health providers if they adopted electronic records beginning in 2011. Keep reading →

For all the devastation it brought, Hurricane Sandy also showed how a cadre of Health and Human Services web sites have become a flexible and living conduit for crucial government information when public health and safety are at stake. Keep reading →

Back in February, senators expressed dismay at a multi-million dollar anti-fraud computer system installed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS hoped to prevent fraudulent payments, reversing its standard mode of paying, discovering and chasing after money that wrongly went out the door.

In April, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, or HEAT, from Health and Human Services, made announcements in Chicago. The Attorney General and the HHS secretary highlighted their high-tech war against CMS fraud, and announced a slew of procedural and legal changes. But most of it focused on stronger fraud penalties, prosecutions, and suspensions or debarments of Medicaid contractors. Nothing was said of the $77 million system. Keep reading →

Our nation faces a large — and growing — long-term fiscal imbalance driven by an aging population, which will dramatically increase health care and retirement costs. And while it is just one of many challenges, it is central to a question of whether the nation’s government will adapt new approaches to the management of government itself.

“The government is on an unstable path,” says the recently released Federal Government’s Financial Health. This report, prepared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Office of Management and Budget (with the assistance of the Government Accountability Office), puts the challenge in stark terms: Keep reading →