Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to share their concerns with the HHS Program Support Center (PSC).
PSC was created administratively by the Clinton administration to provide comprehensive acquisition management services for HHS and federal agencies. Last year, PSC’s procurements for agreements they facilitated between non-HHS agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Defense (DoD), were abruptly terminated by PSC, causing service interruptions and financial penalties. The legal authority and administration of PSC’s procurements between non-HHS federal agencies have been called into question.
“However, it appears from HHS’s recent course of conduct reported in the media that internal concerns have arisen over whether HHS contracting for non-HHS agencies was appropriate, including a possible concern about legal authorities. For example, the Acting Head of Contracting Activity of the PSC, announced in a June 14, 2019, memorandum to its customers that the PSC was terminating its $1.4 billion assisted acquisition program for non-HHS agencies. The same official wrote in an email that as a result of an ongoing internal review, PSC determined that it does not ‘have the policies, procedures, and internal controls in place to support the transfer of PSC contracts to non-HHS agencies,’” wrote Walden and Guthrie.
Additionally, the E&C Republican leaders listed a number of other PSC administrative issues mismanaged at the taxpayers’ expense such as Antideficiency Act violations, payments penalties, and almost a year of paid administrative leave for PSC officials. HHS did not give a clear response to E&C Republican staff as to why PSC’s legal authority is in question.
“Even if HHS believed that the PSC had the legal authority to administer contracts for other agencies, it is not clear why the PSC did not have policies, procedures, and internal controls in place to support this activity. This not only has ramifications for the PSC’s non-HHS agency contract actions valued at more than a half billion dollars in FY 2019, but possibly for other HHS revolving funds that might be used to support non-HHS agencies,” continued Walden and Guthrie.
Walden and Guthrie also requested information from HHS on similar revolving funds and contracting actions. To read the letter, CLICK HERE.