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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Met the Requirements of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, With Key Areas That Require Improvement

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) must review a statistically valid sample of the spending data submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in accordance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act; P.L. No. 113-101). The DATA Act expands the reporting requirements pursuant to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) (P.L. No. 109-282). Ernst & Young (EY) LLP, under its contract with the HHS OIG, audited the fiscal Year (FY) 2018 second quarter spending submitted to USAspending.gov to determine compliance with the DATA Act.

EY determined HHS met the requirements of the DATA Act, but key areas require improvement. EY determined that HHS met the second quarter reporting deadline; the submitted data materially met the requirements for timeliness, accuracy, completeness, and quality; HHS submitted files "A," "B," and "C" that were subjected to a prereview process to detect and correct potential issues, which resulted in no "critical broker warnings"; and HHS improved communication between stakeholders while refining and executing its DATA Act processes.

EY also identified areas that HHS should focus on improving. EY noted certain deficiencies related to the information technology environment associated with segregation of duties and access controls. EY also noted that HHS continued its ongoing data clean-up as part of its Office of Finance’s data standardization efforts. Through continued testing and implementation of Oracle patches to map data elements directly from feeder award systems to the Unified Financial Management System, the Healthcare Integrated General Ledger System, and the National Institutes of Health Business Systems, HHS utilized an interim solution to meet the second quarter FY 2018 DATA Act submission requirement. The interim solution relied on manual processes to collect data from multiple owners and systems, which created an opportunity for data quality to have been compromised.

Filed under: General Departmental