GAO WatchBlog Reblog: 2017 High Risk List

This year, we added the federal government’s environmental liability to our High Risk List—our biennial report highlighting areas particularly susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or needing a fundamental transformation.

When federal government activities contaminate the environment, the government’s on the hook for the cleaning bill. In 2016, this bill was estimated to be $447 billion, and the actual costs may be more.

Read more here, or watch the video below.


Want to know what else made the high risk list this year? Check it out.


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GAO WatchBlog ReBlog: The insights and analyses from mapping data

Geographic information systems (GIS) are powerful tools that display spatial information (such as locations on a map) in order to help us understand patterns and relationships about our world.

So, with National GIS Day on November 16th, the WatchBlog is looking at how this technology helps us communicate clearly and answer complex questions about loan programs, Amtrak service, and more.

Read more here about how the GAO is using GIS to analyze geographic data in meaningful ways.


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GAO WatchBlog ReBlog: Exploring alternatives to prison

While these alternatives may be less expensive than imprisonment, we found that DOJ wasn’t measuring outcomes as well as it could. For example, DOJ surveyed U.S. Attorneys in 2014 and 2015 to get information about the use of certain pretrial diversion practices—but didn’t collect data on outcomes or costs.

And it’s those outcomes—such as successful reentry into society and reduced recidivism (relapse into criminal behavior)—that could be key in reducing the federal prison population.

Read more about the GAO’s analysis of alternatives to prison here.


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GAO WatchBlog ReBlog: The cost of maintaining legacy IT systems

The federal government invests more than $80 billion annually on IT. Much of this money is spent operating and maintaining legacy IT systems—some of which are decades old. Is this the best use of federal IT dollars? And what are the risks of running these aging systems?

Find out more at the GAO WatchBlog post Legacy IT Systems (podcast) — WatchBlog: Official Blog of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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GAO WatchBlog Reblog: Strengthening the Federal Workforce (and Public Service Recognition Week!)


The first week of May is Public Service Recognition Week, honoring the people who serve the country—and the public. It’s also a time for us to examine federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management’s efforts to hire, develop, and retain skilled employees. Read on for what we’ve learned since last May…


via Strengthening the Federal Workforce — WatchBlog: Official Blog of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

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GAO RePodcast: Health Care Fraud Schemes

How do you find—and stop—fraudsters among Medicare and Medicaid’s 100 million beneficiaries, countless providers, and more than $1 trillion in annual spending? It helps to know what you’re looking for…

Kathleen King, Director of the GAO Health Team, shares her team’s findings in the GAO podcast. Generally, the majority of cases included more than one health care fraud scheme – some of the cases had five or more schemes. The most common  schemes were related to billing fraud, such as billing for services that had not been provided. Health care providers were involved in the majority of cases.

The GAO also looked at whether or not the use of smart cards could have affected the number of cases. Due to provider complicity in the fraud schemes, however, it was determined that the use of smart cards would not have had a significant effect.


Listen to the podcast below:

Read the report here.

Or, to visit the GAO WatchBlog and listen in, follow this link: Health Care Fraud Schemes (podcast)


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