HCFA's Medicare oversight criticized
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Mar 15, 2000
The Health Care Financing Administration's oversight of Medicare is hindered
by an inadequate and outdated financial management system, according to
representatives from HCFA and the General Accounting Office.
Even though HCFA recently received a "clean" audit of its financial statements
from GAO, "HCFA has not yet established an adequate foundation for control
and accountability over the Medicare program's financial operations," said
Gloria Jarmon, GAO's director for health, education and human services,
testifying Wednesday before the House Government Management, Information
and Technology Subcommittee.
The agency is taking steps to address the financial management issues, including
beginning work on an integrated general ledger accounting system that will
be used internally and by all Medicare contractors, said Mike Hash, HCFA's
"The project, which will make it easier to coordinate and reconcile data,
is scheduled for completion by 2004, pending the results of the assessment
phase currently under way," Hash said, adding that President Clinton's fiscal
2001 budget proposal includes a $7 million request for the system.
Hash said dealing with Year 2000 set back the financial management system,
but the agency is looking at commercial off-the-shelf applications to help
meet some of its needs before overall completion in 2004.
HCFA also is taking steps to improve its data-protection efforts, which
have been criticized by GAO and the inspector general of the Department
of Health and Human Services.
Hash said the agency is addressing all audit findings concerning security
vulnerabilities and expects them to be resolved by October. He also said
HCFA is working on its security architecture and infrastructure and "assessing
new technology for securing Internet-based transactions."