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Transcript for audio podcast: OIG Outlook 2014: Deputy IG for Audit Services, Gloria Jarmon

From the Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services

[Roberta Baskin] The Office of Audit Services is the largest civilian audit organization in the Federal government. Its Deputy Inspector General is Gloria Jarmon. Welcome, Gloria. You lead some 600-plus auditors. Talk about the issue on everyone's mind: the Affordable Care Act. How do you plan to do oversight?

[Gloria Jarmon] Well, Roberta, we actually have a strategic approach in HHS OIG for this work, where we're focusing on areas initially of highest risk. And those areas include looking at the payment accuracy. We're also looking at enrollment eligibility. We're looking at contract management issues, security issues. We have other work that relates to grants under the Affordable Care Act and additional work in the Medicaid area.

[Roberta Baskin] And what type of work are you required to do, required by Congress?

[Gloria Jarmon] We actually have a report that's required by July 1st, where we will be reporting on the effectiveness of the procedures and safeguards to prevent the enrollment of inaccurate or fraudulent applicants into the health plans that are part of the marketplaces.

[Roberta Baskin] What type of coordination -- given this big picture, what type of coordination do you have to do with other Federal agencies?

[Gloria Jarmon] It involves a lot of coordination because, as you can imagine, there's several other auditors who are also doing work in this area, including GAO, IRS auditors, and most of the state auditors are doing work in this area. So, we coordinate closely with them to make sure our work compliments each other and is overall very comprehensive.

[Roberta Baskin] In the intro, Joanne Chiedi mentioned improper payments as one of our key goals. Tell us about that audit work.

[Gloria Jarmon] We do a lot of work related to improper payments here at HHS. For one thing, the department has the largest number of reported improper payments in the Federal government, over $65 billion, which is over half of the reported improper payments government-wide. So, it's very important that we're working closely with the department to have recommendations to help reduce that number.

[Roberta Baskin] HHS is also the largest grant-making organization in the Federal government, awarding over 78,000 grants last year, totaling more than $340 billion. This has to be a huge area of your oversight work.

[Gloria Jarmon] Yes, it is. We do a lot of work related to grants oversight, also. As mentioned, we're doing work on the Affordable Care Act grants, but we're also doing work on grants that were made related to Hurricane Sandy, where there's grant money that went to HeadStart, mental health services. Our overall interest in doing this oversight work of grants is to make sure that the money went to the right people and is being spent properly.

[Roberta Baskin] HHS also awards a large number of contracts: over $19 billion in 2013. What are your oversight plans for contracts?

[Gloria Jarmon] Our oversight plans for contracts, since we're also doing work in that area related to the Affordable Care Act, where we're looking at contractor performance and management. We're looking at what should have happened, what did happen and what are some of the lessons learned, related to contract management and performance.

[Roberta Baskin] What about Medicare oversight? What would you be highlighting in the year ahead?

[Gloria Jarmon] Medicare is, as you can imagine, is a large area of our work. We continue to do work related to hospital compliance, like we did in 2013. And we're also doing compliance work at home health agencies. And those are just a couple of examples of the work we've been doing in that area.

[Robert Baskin] And with the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, what are you looking out for there?

[Gloria Jarmon] In the Medicaid area, as in past years, we do a lot of oversight work related to Medicaid, and we will continue to do that. We will be doing additional oversight because of the impact of the Affordable Care Act. But some of the work that we do in the Medicaid area we'll be doing in 2014 includes looking at state drawdowns, to make sure the amount drawed-down can be compared to how much was spent by the states. And we're also looking at whether rebates have been collected by the states related to the pharmaceutical administered drugs.

[Roberta Baskin] Thank you, Gloria, for this little glimpse of your audit work priorities. You and your auditors are going to have a very busy year ahead.

[Gloria Jarmon] Thank you, Roberta.


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