News in Brief

Spoofing the feds, EHR interoperability and more

 Shutterstock image: global health.

Phone scammers pose as FBI agents

Somebody is spoofing the FBI Atlanta Division's telephone number to scam people out of their personal data. The scam primarily targets college students with calls that display the bureau's telephone number on the recipient's caller ID, according to a statement released by the Atlanta Division on Sept. 28.

Officials said they have received complaints from multiple universities in Georgia and other states, including Wisconsin, about a phone scam involving callers who claim to be FBI agents or to represent the U.S. government. The callers hassle students about delinquent student loans, taxes or even overdue parking tickets, and threaten to arrest them or block their graduation unless they send payment via MoneyGram.

The FBI said it does not call people requesting money and advised victims to file a complaint through its Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Health record interoperability challenges

Nonfederal efforts to make electronic health records interoperable face five main challenges, according to a Government Accountability Office survey of 18 such initiatives.

Those challenges are insufficient health data standards, variations among state privacy rules, problems matching patient records, interoperability costs, and a lack of governance and trust among health care organizations.

The survey's participants told GAO that the solution will involve getting health care providers to prioritize EHR interoperability. The issue was a crucial consideration in the multibillion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization contract awarded in July.

Cost software helps NASA stay on schedule, on budget

NASA's inspector general released a report Sept. 29 praising the overall success of the Joint Cost and Schedule Confidence Level (JCL) program in improving NASA's schedule and budget situation while noting room for improvement.

"Based on a review of 22 projects, it appears the JCL policy is having a positive impact on NASA's historical challenges with cost and schedule fidelity," the IG's report states. "That said, the process is relatively new, still evolving, and not a one-stop solution to avoiding cost overruns and schedule delays."

NASA has a history of going over schedule and over budget on projects, so officials adopted the JCL process in 2009. The IG report notes that there were issues with training and oversight of JCL software use and that results must be a basis for proposing and establishing project budgets rather than just a validation tool for project managers.

The report also recommends additional functionality for JCL software, including tracking changes to projects' input data.

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