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New From the GAO

November 24, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Group Purchasing Organizations: Funding Structure Has Potential Implications for Medicare Costs. GAO-15-13, October 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-13
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666643.pdf

2. Medicare Program Integrity: CMS Pursues Many Practices to Address Prescription Drug Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. GAO-15-66, October 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-66
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666648.pdf

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2014 CreditCards.com Penalty Rate Survey: The price of being late

November 24, 2014 Comments off

2014 CreditCards.com Penalty Rate Survey: The price of being late
SOurce: CreditCards.com

Those who fall 60 days behind in credit card payments face an average penalty interest rate of 28.45 percent, according to CreditCards.com’s survey of major 100 U.S. credit cards.

That’s down slightly from a 28.60 percent average penalty APR in 2012 — but still expensive.

For example, consider a cardholder who carries a $4,000 balance on a card charging 11.82 percent — the average APR for those carrying a balance, according to the Federal Reserve. At the 28.45 percent average penalty rate, the cardholder would have to pay an extra $665.20 in interest a yea

Pharma Pays $825 Million to Doctors and Hospitals, ACA’s Sunshine Act Reveals

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Pharma Pays $825 Million to Doctors and Hospitals, ACA’s Sunshine Act Reveals
Source: Brookings Institution

A not so well-known provision of the Affordable Care Act is the Sunshine Act. The purpose of this act is to increase the transparency in the health care market by requiring doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers to disclose their financial relationships. Mandated by the Sunshine Act, on September 30th, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publicly released the first set of data, under the Open Payments title. This data includes $3.5 billion paid to over half a million doctors and teaching hospitals in the last five months of 2013.

A subset of Open Payments data that is individually identifiable includes two categories of payments. The first category are the payments that are made for other reasons such as travel reimbursement, royalties, speaking and consulting fees and the second are payments which are made as research grants. These datasets together include more than 2.3 million financial transactions which amount to a total of more than $825 million.

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014

November 24, 2014 Comments off

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014
Source: OECD

The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014 reviews key trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policies, and performance in more than 45 economies, including OECD countries and major emerging economies. The report draws on the latest OECD work on science and innovation policy analysis and measurement.

Following an overview of the STI global landscape and policy trends, key policy issues are discussed across a series of thematic policy profiles. The third section examines individual STI country performances, along with the most recent national policy developments. These global and national policy trends are monitored by a unique international policy survey conducted by the OECD every two years.

DHS OIG — Major Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of Homeland Security

November 22, 2014 Comments off

Major Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of Homeland Security (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

We have identified major challenges that affect both the Department as a whole, as well as individual components. DHS must continually seek to integrate management operations under an authoritative governing structure capable of effectively overseeing and managing programs that cross component lines.

DHS’ mission to protect the Nation from domestic and international threats and respond to natural and manmade disasters is further challenged by the unpredictable nature of these hazards. DHS must overcome the challenges inherent with uniting the Department under the Secretary’s Unity of Effort Initiative, as well as those over which it has little control.

This year, we are reporting the Department’s major challenges in the following areas:
• DHS Operations Integration
• Acquisition Management
• Financial Management
• IT Management and Privacy Issues
• Transportation Security
• Border Security and Immigration Enforcement
• Grants Management
• Employee Accountability and Integrity
• Infrastructure Protection, Cybersecurity, and Insider Threat

New From the GAO

November 21, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Defense Logistics: Greater Awareness of Recommendations and Improvements in Data Quality Needed to Resolve Container-Management Challenges. GAO-15-114, November 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-114
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667147.pdf

2. Vaccine Injury Compensation: Most Claims Took Multiple Years and Many Were Settled through Negotiation. GAO-15-142, November 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-142
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667135.pdf

Retirement Benefit Decisions by City and County Governments

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Retirement Benefit Decisions by City and County Governments
Source: Center for State and Local Government Excellence

Key findings:

  • Workers who work a full career in their city or county can expect a retirement income of between 45 and 80 percent of their pre-retirement income.
  • Career employees of local governments who participate in Social Security can expect retirement income replacement rates of 20 to 30 percentage points higher than employees whose governments do not participate in Social Security.
  • These and other variations mean that many local workers will need to be disciplined about participating in savings plans, outside of their primary plans, to meet their retirement security goals.
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