Investigations Target CDC
The Government Accountability Office, the HHS Office of Inspector General and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) all have launched investigations into reports of oversight problems and staff morale issues at CDC, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has been investigating CDC since spring, requested the GAO investigations, according to Grassley spokesperson Jill Kozeny.
One GAO investigation is examining whether CDC is providing proper oversight of a $3.8 billion bioterrorism grant program for states. A second GAO investigation is looking into whether CDC is providing state and local health departments with adequate guidance on planning for public health emergencies, Kozeny said.
The Finance Committee also is monitoring the OIG investigation, which is examining allegations by a CDC whistleblower that agency officials altered or falsified records of payments to pharmaceutical companies involved in the National Immunization Program to conceal violations of the federal Prompt Payment Act.
Meanwhile, Waxman on Wednesday launched an investigation into reports of internal problems at CDC and established a telephone hotline and online form for agency staff to confidentially report concerns. Waxman said the hotline was established in response to reports in the Journal-Constitution about the departures of lead scientists and concerns from former and current CDC staff that the agency's scientific responsibilities are being compromised.
CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner on Wednesday said he was unaware of the GAO and OIG investigations but that he would look into them. He said of the hotline, "We respect the need for CDC employees to freely share their concerns about the workplace. We're supportive of efforts which further open the lines of communication between employees and management" (Young, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 9/21).