Weekly Round-Up: August 8, 2014
A Side Benefit of DATA Act. Adam Mazmanian, Federal Computer Week, writes that the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act signed by President Obama back in May, may be an added impetus for agencies to move to financial shared services.
DOD Outlines Acquisition Reform Steps. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports that Frank Kendall, Defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics, has publicly outlined a series of reform steps – starting with Congress ending the threat of sequestration.
Reverse Auctions Save Money, So Let’s Ban Them. Effective cost-saving reforms stir the ire of those benefiting from the old system. Steve Kelman, writing in FCW, points to an obscure provision in pending legislation to ban the use of a cost-saving mechanism called “reverse auctions.”
Medicare Audits Save Money, So Let’s Stop Them. In another cost-saving program at HHS, Tim Devaney, The Hill, writes that a program that saved $8 billion in improper health care payments since 2009 has been reconfigured to substantially reduce future potential savings.
VA Reform Bill Requires New Studies. Jake Williams, FedScoop, writes that the recently-adopted Veterans reform bill contains provisions requiring an independent entity to review various elements of VA’s operations, with reports due 45 to 90 days after enactment.
Can You Count on USASpending.gov? Ariel Levin-Waldman, Federal News Radio, summarizes findings from a Government Accountability Office report finding that 10 percent of the award information on the USASpending database could not be verified. This is an ongoing issue and will be a challenge to the Treasury Department, which recently was given responsibility for the website, as it implements the DATA Act – which will use the database as its foundation.
Giving Feds a Break. Robert Levinson, Bloomberg Government, writes that “Despite the headlines, we need to recognize that the vast majority of the 2.1 million federal employees work hard every day, performing critical functions that make all our lives better. Federal employees keep Americans safe from terrorism, disease, pollution and faulty products.”
Health Care Performance Matters. Benjamin Goad, The Hill, highlights recently issued regulations. “Under the rule, hospitals with the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions would see their Medicare inpatient payments cut by 1 percent.”
Reforms by Congress to how agencies buy technology are increasingly unlikely. Industry experts are holding out little hope that multiple bills attempting to fix long-standing problems with IT acquisition will actually get passed before the end of the year.
Veterans are expected to have an easier time getting government-paid health care from local doctors under a bill that President Barack Obama is set to sign into law Thursday.
Curiosity rover completes its second full year on the red planet. NASA's rover is collecting data as it makes its way toward Mount Sharp. Monday was Curiosity's 709th Martian day.
Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, sent a letter to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) back in June detailing how Congress can help DoD improve its acquisition outcomes. The list includes stopping sequestration, continued support of workforce training and simplifying rules and regulations.
Ahead of results of the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, a National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations working group proposed its initial ways to improve employee engagement.
The National Academy of Public Administration says shrinking budgets, retiring workers and rapidly changing technology need to be addressed in the next 15 years.
The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversation with Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Douglas Robb, Director, Defense Health Agency
How is the Defense Health Agency changing the way DoD delivers healthcare? What are some of the key challenges faced in restructuring such a complex system? How is DHA transforming its health information technology portfolio? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with LTG Douglas Robb, Director, Defense Health Agency.
Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED