The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently issued two updates to its Active Work Plan (Work Plan) for September. The OIG began releasing its Work Plan projects on an ongoing basis in 2017, in lieu of providing biannual updates. A monthly update schedule ensures that the Work Plan closely aligns with the OIG’s work planning process and provides greater transparency. Work Plan items are selected based on relative risks in HHS programs and operations to identify those areas most in need of attention. The OIG considers several factors when creating Work Plan items, including legal mandates, congressional requests, budgetary concerns, potential for positive impact, and other requests or oversight actions by HHS management, the Office of Budget and Management, or the Government Accountability Office.
The September additions to the OIG Work Plan include the following:
- Follow-up Review of Head Start Grantee.
- Head Start grants are awarded to organizations through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to provide services such as early childcare, social services, education, health, and nutrition to children and their families. The ACF requested that the OIG conduct an audit of a community-based, not-for-profit organization with three centers located in Bronx, New York. The organization was selected because of its high risk for noncompliance with federal requirements. The OIG will determine whether the grantee claimed allowable Head Start costs according to federal regulations and the grant’s terms. The audit will focus on the related-party transactions and the restitution of embezzled funds.
- Review of Opioid Use in Indian Health Service.
- The opioid crisis led to approximately 49,000 deaths in the United States in 2017. This is an increase from the approximately 42,000 deaths in 2016. The OIG seeks to determine the extent to which Medicare Part D and Medicaid beneficiaries are receiving extreme amounts of opioids through the Indian Health Service (IHS). The review will also examine IHS-employed prescribers and IHS-run pharmacies that have questionable prescribing or dispensing patterns. The OIG will review how IHS prevents and detects opioid misuse or abuse, and how it enforces its opioid-related policies.
The OIG Work Plan is available at: