The Government Accountability Office identified nearly $90 million in questionable payments that the CMS made to contractors out of $1 billion Congress gave the agency to roll out the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.
The CMS paid about $735 million to contractors and vendors by the end of 2006, and GAO found that many of the payments were unsupported or potentially improper or wasteful. The problems, according to the 74-page report, stemmed from a failure to dedicate resources to oversight, a lack of competitive bidding and the use of cost-reimbursement contracts, which it judged vulnerable to waste.
In a written response to the GAO, the CMS said the accounting of dubious spending was premature and its entirely likely that most of the contractors invoiced costs will be found to be allowable.
The CMS did, however, agree to take action on each of GAOs nine recommendations to improve internal control and accountability in the process. -- by Gregg Blesch
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