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New GAO reports – Forest Restoration, Medicaid

  • Forest Restoration: Adjusting Agencies’ Information-Sharing Strategies Could Benefit Landscape-Scale Projects, GAO-15-398: Published: Apr 9, 2015. Publicly Released: May 11, 2015: “Agencies GAO reviewed—the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior—reported conducting 34 landscape-scale forest restoration projects (defined by GAO as projects larger than 50,000 acres with a focus on forests) from 2004 through 2014. The Forest Service reported conducting 24 of the 34 projects; BLM, 8; and NPS, 2. FWS reported no landscape-scale projects, and BIA officials stated that BIA supports but does not collect information on tribal landscape restoration projects. Agency officials said they determined the scope of individual projects, such as project area, based on factors unique to each project, such as the ecological composition of the land.”
  • Medicaid: CMS Oversight of Provider Payments Is Hampered by Limited Data and Unclear Policy, GAO-15-322: Published: Apr 10, 2015. Publicly Released: May 11, 2015: GAO’s assessment of Medicaid payments to government and private hospitals in three selected states was hampered by inaccurate and incomplete data on payments. States must capture but are not required to report all payments they make to individual institutional providers, nor are states required to report ownership information. For example, large supplemental payments states often make to hospitals are not reported by hospital. GAO assessed data for hospitals in two of three selected states, Illinois and New York; the third state, California, did not have accurate or complete payment data that would allow an assessment of total payments made to individual hospitals. In the two states, GAO’s estimates of average daily payments—total payments adjusted for differences in patient health, divided by patient days—made to government and private hospitals showed inconclusive trends, but also identified that a small number of government hospitals were receiving high payments that warrant oversight.”

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