Weekly Roundup: September 28 - October 2, 2015
Try Before You Buy. In a Government Executive column, Shelley Metzenbaum writes: “Well-designed small-scale testing can help government achieve greater impact not only at a lower cost but also in more fair, understandable ways. Government should embrace “test marketing” as a business-as-usual management practice, not an exceptional event.” Mid-Level Rotations. Government Executive reports that: “The Obama administration wants more of its mid-level managers to rotate throughout government, according to a new memorandum from the Office of Personnel Management.” The interagency program, launched in 2011 for high-potential GS-13s thru -15s, has sponsored more than 350 rotation assignments. RATB Roundup. Government Executive reports that the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board shut its doors on September 30th, as required by law. The Board was created in 2009 to oversee the spending of more than $800 billion in Recovery Act monies. Its work contributed to the effective implementation of the initiative and led to the passage of a law requiring regular tracking of all federal monies. More Accountable SES. Federal News Radio reports that the Office of Personnel Management has released new guidelines to standardize across agencies the way the performance of senior career executives will be assessed: “The changes come after President Barack Obama announced a number of reforms to the SES program last December in order to prepare for the upcoming wave of senior managers eligible for retirement in 2017.” Employee Engagement Scores Up. After dropping for several years, governmentwide employee engagement survey scores ticked up this year. According to Federal News Radio: “The Office of Personnel Management posted this year’s results on Sept. 28 on UnlockTalent.gov, where they were made available to the public for the first time.” Small agencies improved more than large agencies. More employees responded to the survey than did last year, which is an encouraging sign that managers are actually acting on survey results. DOD Cutbacks Confirmed. Government Executive reports that Congress agreed to substantial cuts in the Defense Department’s headquarters, administrative and support offices. They will have five years to reduce their workforces by 25 percent, saving about $10 billion. Improper Payments Rise. According to Federal News Radio, a Senate hearing on the 14 percent increase in improper payments last year, to $125 billion, was searching for root causes and came to the conclusion that there isn’t enough information to understand the problem. About three-quarters of improper payments occur in three programs: Medicare, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Year-end Spending Not Necessarily Bad. Federal News Radio reports on another Senate hearing, this one addressing year-end spending and waste. According to one witness, University of Maryland professor Phil Joyce: ““In the current fiscal environment, end of year spending practices are an entirely understandable, even reasonable response to the dysfunction and unpredictability of the appropriations process.” Michael Keegan Inside the CIA's new Digital Directorate. The CIA's brand new Directorate for Digital Innovation brings together the spy agency's CIO shop, cyber capabilities, and open source intelligence. FAA looks to 2016 for drone rules. The aviation regulator missed a Congressional deadline to develop rules of the sky-ways for drones. GAO Outlines Five Key Obstacles to Achieving Interoperability. A new Government Accountability Office report highlights five key barriers to interoperability identified by representatives from nonfederal initiatives aimed at improving health data exchange. Meanwhile, several representatives said the meaningful use program has diverted attention and resources from interoperability efforts. FierceEMR et al. Health Care Is Increasingly Moving to the Cloud, but How Does Security Stack Up? The health care industry increasingly is turning to cloud hosting platforms to store sensitive patient data. Proponents say cloud service providers have stepped up security protections, but critics say there are still risks. Health Care System Transitions From ICD-9 to ICD-10 Code Set. Today, the U.S. health care system transitioned from the ICD-9 to the ICD-10 code set, which requires the industry to change out about 14,000 codes for about 68,000 codes. While some industry groups are optimistic about the transition, a recent Sermo poll finds providers are not as confident. Vox et al Audits Fault OCR for Lax HIPAA Oversight, Data Breach Follow-Up. An HHS Office of Inspector General report says the agency's Office for Civil Rights must improve its oversight of HIPAA-covered entities, noting that its approach so far has been "primarily reactive." Meanwhile, a separate OIG report says OCR must strengthen its follow-up action on reported data breaches. FierceHealthIT, Politico's "Morning eHeadlines.” * * * * * The Business of Government Radio Show. What are DOJ’s the key financial management priorities? How is United Financial Management System (UFMS) enhancing decision-making across the enterprise? What made the UFMS implementation so successful? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Jolene Lauria, Controller, U.S. Department of Justice. Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at businessofgovernment.org.