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SAMHSA's Administration of Grants

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Spotlight On
Grants Management and Oversight

Did you know that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the largest grant-making organization in the Federal Government? In fiscal year (FY) 2011 alone, HHS awarded over 82,000 grants totaling approximately $385 billion.


In 2009, the period of our review, SAMHSA administered 2,281 discretionary grants, which ranged from approximately $17,000 to $7 million for a total of $906.8 million. This study is part of a body of work by OIG on grants administration to ensure the appropriate stewardship of Federal funds. OIG has not previously evaluated SAMHSA's grants administration.


Using SAMHSA grantee data, we selected a sample of 130 discretionary grants. We reviewed the files for these grants to determine the extent to which SAMHSA maintains grant files in accordance with Federal requirements. We then surveyed SAMHSA staff and the grantee project directors to describe SAMHSA's interactions with grantees.


SAMHSA maintains grant files in accordance with Federal requirements. We were able to follow the grant "paper trail" and identify required documents; however, a few grant files were missing initial applications, continuation applications, and Financial Status Reports. Most SAMHSA staff and grantee project directors reported positive interactions with one another; however, some SAMHSA staff and grantee project directors identified obstacles to communication.


Given the overall completeness and quality of the grant files and the low incidence of identified problems, we are not making formal recommendations to SAMHSA. Still, we encourage SAMHSA to strive to obtain and maintain all required documents. Also, SAMHSA may want to use information from this report to improve interactions between SAMHSA staff and the grantee project directors. SAMHSA concurred with our report as written and provided no further comments.