A report from the Government Accountability Office shows 12 “potentially” duplicative information technology investments in the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services cost more than $321 million since 2008.

HHS was the big offender with six projects costing $260.38 million, 81 percent of the total. Four enterprise information security initiatives that GAO considers to be similar to other efforts cost HHS $256.59 million, with two Medicare Coverage Determination projects adding $3.79 million.

For instance, on enterprise security, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spent $14.97 million on maintaining, updating and institutionalizing a comprehensive I.T. security program, and Indian Health Services spent $37.02 million to create policy and guidance, centralize resources and provide training. A program in the Health Resources and Services Administration cost $8.91 million to secure I.T. infrastructure, applications and all component information.

On top of that, HHS implemented Secure One, a $195.69 million enterprise I.T. security program to protect all the information and resources of the department. GAO also pegged as similar separate CMS initiatives for Medicare national coverage determination and local coverage determination databases.

HHS officials disagreed that information security investments were duplicative, but nonetheless plan to review opportunities for consolidation, according to GAO. “Regarding the Medicare coverage determination investments, HHS officials noted that they have consolidated several functions but could not provide documented justification for why the other functions were not consolidated.” GAO recommends that HHS assess the cost effectiveness of consolidating the remaining functions.

The report, “Key Federal Agencies Need to Address Potentially Duplicative Investments,” is available here.

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