GAO Annual Report: 2022 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Billions of Dollars in Financial Benefits

“Each year, GAO reports on federal programs with fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative goals or actions, and we have suggested hundreds of ways to address those problems, reduce costs, or boost revenue. In our 12th annual report, we identified 94 new actions that Congress and agencies could take to address these findings.

Congress and agencies made significant progress in addressing many of the nearly 1,300 actions we suggested. These actions have yielded approximately $552 billion in cost savings and revenue increases. Addressing remaining actions could save tens of billions more dollars and improve government services.

What GAO Found

GAO identified 94 new actions in 21 new and nine existing areas for Congress or executive branch agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government. For example:

The Department of Energy could pursue less expensive disposal options of nuclear and hazardous waste, such as immobilizing waste in grout, which could help save tens of billions of dollars.

Contracting leaders at federal agencies should use metrics measuring cost reduction or avoidance to improve the performance of their procurement organizations and potentially save billions of dollars annually.

Congress should consider directing the Department of Health and Human Services to implement additional payment reductions for Skilled Nursing Facilities with high rates of potentially preventable hospital readmissions and emergency room visits, potentially savinghundreds of millionsof dollars in Medicare costs.

The Internal Revenue Service could improve taxpayer service and better manage refund interest payments, potentially saving $20 million or more annually, by establishing a mechanism to identify, monitor, and mitigate issues contributing to refund interest payments.

The Social Security Administration could potentially save millions of dollars by identifying and addressing the causes for overpayments to disability beneficiaries in its Ticket to Work program.

The Department of Defense could improve various administrative services, such as by better managing fragmentation in its food program and strengthening ongoing initiatives to reduce improper defense travel payments, potentially saving millions of dollars in those programs.

Congress and executive branch agencies have made significant progress in addressing many of the 1,299 actions that GAO identified from 2011 to 2022 to reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve agencies’ operating effectiveness, although work remains to fully address them. As shown in the figure below, these efforts have resulted in approximately $552 billion in financial benefits, an increase of $35 billion from GAO’s last duplication report. These are rough estimates based on a variety of sources that considered different time periods and used different data sources, assumptions, and methodologies…

To achieve these benefits, as of March 2022, Congress and executive branch agencies have fully addressed 724 (about 56 percent) of the 1,299 actions GAO identified from 2011 to 2022 and partially addressed 240 (about 18 percent). Examples of actions taken that led to significant financial benefits include:

The Department of Health and Human Services changed processes to curtail some problematic methods of determining budget neutrality and restricted the amount of unspent funds states can accrue and carry forward to expand Medicaid demonstrations, which resulted in more than $140 billion in federal savings.

In support of the Office of Management and Budget’s Data Center Optimization Initiative, 22 federal agencies have been consolidating their data centers to improve government efficiency with related cost savings of approximately $5.7 billion.

Access the full 121-page report here.

Source: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Billions of Dollars in Financial Benefits – May 11, 2022. GAO.

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