HHS’ OIG to Review the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Efforts of HHS

The HHS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a tactical plan for monitoring the COVID-19 response and recovery work of the Department of Health and Human Services.

OIG is going to evaluate how good the HHS has done its mission to keep the Americans’ health and safety, know if there’s adequate protection of the HHS systems and information, examine the {results|efficiency} of the HHS response, and audit the $251 billion funding for COVID-19 response, which the HHS distributed.

OIG is mandated to supervise the activities of the HHS to boost the economy, performance, efficiency, and reliability of HHS programs. OIG stated that COVID-19 has challenged the HHS with regard to its delivery of medical care and human services to Americans. By means of audits, risk checks, and information analytics, OIG will be evaluating the performance of the HHS in its COVID-19 response and recovery work.

The HHS has an obligation to safeguard the health and wellbeing of Americans at the time of a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic and take care of beneficiaries that are given services by means of the health care and human services programs of HHS. OIG is going to assist the HHS and will help in its continuing COVID-19 response efforts. It will help combat fraud and scams that jeopardize the public and HHS beneficiaries.

OIG is going to look into incidents of fraud and will directly work with law enforcement to secure the community and HHS beneficiaries. OIG will additionally evaluate the efficiency of HHS programs and verify how well the health and safety of the community and beneficiaries had been met. It will conduct audits and assessments of the

  • purchases, management, and handing out of resources from the Strategic National Stockpile
  • production, approval, and delivery of COVID-19 tests
  • research and development of vaccine and treatments
  • health care and human services programs of the HHS

OIG’s supervision and enforcement activities consist of securing HHS funds from fraudulent activities, waste and misuse and encouraging transparency and responsible spending of HHS. In May 2020, the HHS released a $251 billion funding for the COVID-19 response and recovery work. OIG is going to review the spending of that funding according to program requirements and find out if fund recipients satisfied reporting requirements. It will check and deal with fraud and abuse that redirected COVID-19 funding from its supposed applications.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberattacks on the HHS and healthcare companies increased significantly. Nation-states are trying to acquire sensitive information and intellectual property related to SARS-CoV-2 as well as the COVID-19 response. OIG mentioned that attackers could target technologies used during the COVID-19 response to get access to sensitive information. It is thus important to adequately protect the HHS IT infrastructure, and proactively identify and address vulnerabilities.

OIG is going to assess the capability of the HHS in identifying and resolving IT vulnerabilities, and if it has mitigated the vulnerabilities. It will check to validate cybersecurity threats and attacks on the networks of HHS. OIG will help the HHS to have a protected and powerful infrastructure.

Effective practices and things learned throughout the COVID-19 response and recovery work are going to be used to reinforce future HHS programs and better readiness planning for other potential public health emergencies.

About Christine Garcia 1304 Articles
Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA