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Building the Evidence Base for Complementary and Integrative Medicine Use among Veterans and Military Personnel

January 7, 2015 Comments off

Building the Evidence Base for Complementary and Integrative Medicine Use among Veterans and Military Personnel
Source: Medical Care (Supplement Five)

Articles include:

  • Physical Health, Mental Health, and Utilization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Services Among Gulf War Veterans
  • Perceptions of Providers and Administrators in the Veterans Health Administration Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • CAM Utilization Among OEF/OIF Veterans: Findings From the National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans
  • US Veterans Use Vitamins and Supplements as Substitutes for Prescription Medication
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Veterans and Military Personnel: A Synthesis of Population Surveys
  • Variations in the Implementation and Characteristics of Chiropractic Services in VA

The Top 10 Most Viewed DoD Inspector General Reports of 2014

January 6, 2015 Comments off

The Top 10 Most Viewed DoD Inspector General Reports of 2014
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General

The Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General issued 153 reports in calendar year 2014. The reports include audits, assessments and evaluations covering a wide array of topics, but serving a common purpose of supporting the warfighter and promoting accountability, integrity and efficiency in the Department.

Here is a review of the top 10 reports from the past year, based on web views:

  1. Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Potentially Overpaid Bell Helicopter for Sole-Source Commercial Spare Parts
    July 7, 2014 – We determined whether the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) was purchasing sole-source commercial parts at fair and reasonable prices from Bell Helicopter Textron (Bell).
  2. An Assessment of Contractor Personnel Security Clearance Processes in the Four Defense Intelligence Agencies
    April 4, 2014 – Our objective was to assess: a) how, or if, substantiated investigations of misconduct were reported to Agency Clearance Adjudication Facilities (CAF) and to the DoD Consolidated Adjudication Facility (DODCAF); b) if the referred investigations had been adjudicated; and c) the results of those security adjudications.
  3. Inspection of the Armed Forces Retirement Home
    July 23, 2014 – Section 1518 of the “Armed Forces Retirement Home Act of 1991,” November 15, 1990, as amended by Public Law 112-81, “National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012,” December 31, 2011 (24 U.S.C. § 418) requires that the Inspector General of the Department of Defense perform a comprehensive inspection of all aspects of the AFRH every three years.
  4. Review of Audits Issued by the Defense Contract Audit Agency in FY 2012 and FY 2013
    September 8, 2014 – As part of our continuous oversight responsibility of DCAA, we reviewed a cross section of 16 DCAA audits completed between October 2011 and February 2013, including 5 audits of forward-pricing proposals and 11 audits of incurred cost proposals and other audit types.
  5. Hotline Allegations Regarding Defense Contract Management Agency Contracting Officer Actions on Several Business System Audit Reports
    June 20, 2014 – We conducted this review to determine the validity of a DoD Hotline complaint alleging that a Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) contracting officer did not take timely or appropriate action on several Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audit reports covering the business systems of a large DoD contractor.
  6. Policy Changes Needed at Defense Contract Management Agency to Ensure Forward Pricing Rates Result in Fair and Reasonable Contract Pricing
    October 10, 2014 –We reviewed Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) forward pricing rate policy and practice for indirect rates for compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and DoD policy. DCMA forward pricing rate policy covers the 353 contractor locations where DoD contracting officers use DCMA forward pricing rates to negotiate at least $70 billion in Government sales.
  7. Navy Needs to Improve Contract Oversight of Its Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Program Contracts
    January 13, 2014 – The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Navy is performing effective oversight of the contracts for its Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Program.
  8. Navy and Marine Corps Have Weak Procurement Processes for Cost-Reimbursement Contract Issuance and Management
    July 11, 2014 – Our objective was to determine whether the Navy and Marine Corps complied with interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) revisions on the use of cost-reimbursement contracts.
  9. Opportunities for Cost Savings and Efficiencies in the DoD Permanent Change of Station Program
    May 21, 2014 – The objective of the audit was to determine whether DoD could implement potential cost savings and efficiencies throughout the DoD Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Program.
  10. The Army Needs To Improve Property Accountability and Contractor Oversight at the Redistribution Property Assistance Team Yards in Afghanistan
    March 4, 2014 – We determined whether Redistribution Property Assistance Teams (RPATs) in Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan, have effective procedures in place to process equipment, to include preparation for shipment.

Veterans’ Employment Redress Laws in the Federal Civil Service

December 26, 2014 Comments off

Veterans’ Employment Redress Laws in the Federal Civil Service (PDF)
Source: U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board

This report describes the statutes and pertinent case decisions for two laws designed to protect the employment rights of veterans in the civil service: (1) the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) (codified at 5 U.S.C. § 3330a); and (2) the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) (codified as amended at 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4335).

VEOA provides a redress procedure for preference eligibles and certain veterans who believe that an agency has not treated them in accord with Federal employment laws and regulations designed to reward particular types of military service. USERRA provides procedures to address claims of discrimination based on military service and to ensure that service members can resume their civilian careers when their military service is completed. USERRA applies to the private sector as well as the public sector. However, this report only discusses the USERRA redress procedures used when the employer in question is the Federal government.

New From the GAO

December 12, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Health Care: Information on Coverage Choices for Servicemembers, Former Servicemembers, and Dependents. GAO-15-4, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-4
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667487.pdf

2. Hurricane Sandy: FEMA Has Improved Disaster Aid Verification but Could Act to Further Limit Improper Assistance. GAO-15-15, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-15
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667470.pdf

3. VA Health Care: Improvements Needed in Monitoring Antidepressant Use for Major Depressive Disorder and in Increasing Accuracy of Suicide Data. GAO-15-55, November 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-55
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666841.pdf

4. College-and-Career Readiness: States Have Made Progress in Implementing New Standards and Assessments, but Challenges Remain. GAO-15-104R, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-104R

5. Grants Management: Programs at HHS and HUD Collect Administrative Cost Information but Differences in Cost Caps and Definitions Create Challenges. GAO-15-118, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-118
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667506.pdf

6. Grant Program Consolidations: Lessons Learned and Implications for Congressional Oversight. GAO-15-125, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-125
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667482.pdf

7. Aviation Security: Rapid Growth in Expedited Passenger Screening Highlights Need to Plan Effective Security Assessments. GAO-15-150, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-150
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667464.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/667489

8. Medicaid: Federal Funds Aid Eligibility IT System Changes, but Implementation Challenges Persist. GAO-15-169, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-169
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667485.pdf

9. Missile Defense: Cost Estimating Practices Have Improved, and Continued Evaluation Will Determine Effectiveness. GAO-15-210R, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-210R

CBO — Comparing the Costs of the Veterans’ Health Care System with Private-Sector Costs

December 10, 2014 Comments off

Comparing the Costs of the Veterans’ Health Care System with Private-Sector Costs
Source: Congressional Budget Office

Legislation enacted in 2014 calls for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to expand the availability of health care to eligible veterans. That legislation provided temporary funding to expand VHA’s capacity to deliver care and to increase the amount of care purchased from the private sector.

CBO has conducted a limited examination of how the costs of health care provided by VHA compare with the costs of care provided in the private sector. Although the structure of VHA and published studies suggest that VHA care has been cheaper than care provided by the private sector, limited evidence and substantial uncertainty make it difficult to reach firm conclusions about those relative costs or about whether it would be cheaper to expand veterans’ access to health care in the future through VHA facilities or the private sector. Uncertainty about relative costs in the future is compounded by uncertainty about how VHA would structure contracts with private-sector providers.

This report briefly describes some of the features that distinguish the health care system run by VHA from health care provided in the private sector. It also examines the available evidence about the relative costs of VHA and private-sector care and explores possible reasons why costs might differ in the two settings and why they can be difficult to compare. Finally, CBO briefly considers some factors that could influence the cost-effectiveness of alternative means of expanding health care services to veterans in the future.

VA Mental Health Services Public Report — November 2014

December 10, 2014 Comments off

VA Mental Health Services Public Report — November 2014 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The following report is designed to give Veterans, their families, and the broader community information about the mental health treatment programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It documents the rapid growth in demand for VA mental health services during the past decade, some of the challenges this has created, and ways in which VA has responded. VA measures the resources available to address Veterans’ mental health needs, and this report highlights some of these, including budgeting for mental health care, staffing and space for mental health programs, and use of technology to improve access to treatment. The report also presents information about Veterans’ experience of care, including the types and amount of mental health services received and Veterans’ opinions about access and quality of care. VA has ongoing efforts to use this information to address areas of concern and improve the quality of VA mental health treatment.

New From the GAO

December 3, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

Testimonies

1. Federal Data Transparency: Effective Implementation of the DATA Act Would Help Address Government-wide Management Challenges and Improve Oversight, by Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-15-241T, December 3.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-241T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667269.pdf

2. Children’s Health Insurance: Cost, Coverage, and Access Considerations for Extending Federal Funding, by Carolyn L. Yocom, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-15-268T, December 3.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-268T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667273.pdf

3. VA Health Care: Improvements Needed to Manage Higher-Than-Expected Demand for the Family Caregiver Program, by Randall B. Williamson, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-15-245T, December 3.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-245T

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