Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum regarding issues identified in connection with 11 DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audits and reviews since 2016 related to the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) strategy for its medical services contracts. In fiscal year 2021, the BOP spent over $700 million on medical contracts to address the needs of over 150,000 inmates.
In several of these audits and reviews, the OIG has repeatedly observed the following deficiencies in the BOP’s planning, administering, and monitoring of medical contracts:
- Not establishing a framework for performance monitoring, including methods for appraising the quality of the services received;
- Weaknesses in acquisition planning related to inadequate communication and collaboration between the BOP’s acquisition office and its institutions, including inadequate healthcare utilization and pricing data to consider alternative contract management strategies; and
- Weaknesses in contract administration related to Contracting Officer’s Representative delegation, as well as review and approval of medical payments.
These deficiencies have led to inefficient management, suboptimal contractor performance, and ultimately, a waste of taxpayer dollars.
We determined that while the BOP has taken corrective actions to address and close numerous OIG recommendations at the institution-level, the issues and concerns highlighted in the memorandum require a more comprehensive healthcare strategy with an enterprise-wide focus on ensuring effective quality of care and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. The establishment of a coordinated, comprehensive, enterprise-wide BOP strategy for the procurement of medical services contracts would provide all BOP institutions with consistent and effective direction, clarify responsibilities, reduce redundancies, and address systemic weaknesses.
Today’s Management Advisory Memorandum makes one recommendation to address our concerns with the BOP’s strategy for its medical services contracts. The BOP agreed with the recommendation.