Agencies reduce some payment errors; but overall rate rises
- By Mary Mosquera
- Jan 13, 2009
The government’s error rate for program payments rose to 3.9 percent,
or $72.1 billion, in fiscal 2008 from 2.8 percent, or $42.1 billion,
the previous year, the Office of Management and Budget said. The error
rate increased because agencies added 12 programs to those already
being measured, OMB said in a recent report.
Agencies in 2008
also increased the amount of federal outlays being measured so that
they now measure 97 percent of all program payments that are at risk of
being inaccurate, OMB said. In 2007, agencies reported on 85 percent of
those federal outlays, the report issued Jan. 9 said.
are successfully working to eliminate improper payments on all programs
with a risk of error,” said Clay Johnson, OMB deputy director for
management, at a briefing about the report.
The 3 percent of
unmeasured high-risk outlays are from the Medicare prescription drug
benefit program and several smaller Homeland Security Department
programs, and those will begin to be reported in 2010, he said.
2008, 12 programs accounted for about 90 percent of reported improper
payments, the report said. Those programs included three from the
Health and Human Services Department: Medicaid, Medicare
Fee-for-Service and Medicare Advantage, according to the report.
continue to reduce the improper payments in the programs they started
tracking in 2004, when OMB started tracking such payments. Then the
error rate for those programs was 4.3 percent, or $45 billion in
improper payments; in 2008, the rate declined to 3 percent, or $37.9
billion, OMB said.
“The past five reporting years have shown
that once an agency measures and reports program errors, it is able to
implement corrective actions to reduce errors in subsequent years,” the
Improper payments include payments that are the wrong amount, go to the wrong person or for the wrong purpose, the report said.
Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.