What GAO Discovered
In the summer season of 2020, the Business office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) inside of the Office of Wellbeing and Human Companies (HHS) labored with procurement places of work in the Food and Drug Administration (Fda) and the Countrywide Institutes of Well being (NIH) to solicit proposals and make awards to two companies in guidance of a COVID-19 general public training marketing campaign. The primary objectives of the marketing campaign, according to award files, ended up sharing information on preventing the distribute of COVID-19 and escalating vaccine acceptance. ASPA officials developed and led the marketing campaign, even though Food and drug administration and NIH workers oversaw the technological aspects of the contracting system.
- Fda awarded a almost $15 million contract in September 2020 to Atlas Analysis, a consulting organization The award targeted generally on developing a collection of public support bulletins for numerous media channels. The bulletins have been to function associates of the enjoyment business and general public wellbeing officers.
- NIH produced a $250 million award in September 2020 to Fors Marsh Group, a consulting business, which then designed various messages for the general public on vaccine enhancement and COVID-19 avoidance. Messages were made for tv, radio, print and social media channels. Fors Marsh Group also developed the campaign’s concept and symbol, We Can Do This (see determine).
HHS’s We Can Do This World wide web Web page
In October 2020, next congressional inquiries and destructive push coverage about the marketing campaign, the then-Secretary of Overall health and Human Expert services convened a group of public wellness officials to make sure the campaign was serving important community wellness reasons. Food and drug administration terminated the Atlas Exploration contract in November 2020, adhering to the HHS interior review. Fors Marsh Team has continued to do the job on the marketing campaign.
ASPA paid out for the two awards and other campaign costs with COVID-19 aid money appropriated for the Centers for Ailment Command and Prevention (CDC). Precisely, CDC and ASPA entered into a $300 million interagency settlement, originally funded with $100 million from the CARES Act and $200 million from the Paycheck Defense Program and Wellbeing Care Improvement Act. HHS price range officials documented that the office subsequently identified a more acceptable funding source, and CDC modified its finances accounts to use only its CARES Act funds for the $300 million interagency arrangement with ASPA.
Why GAO Did This Research
In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS commenced a national public schooling campaign led by ASPA. Congressional committees and the media raised issues about the target and timing of the campaign. There had been also considerations that money intended for CDC were being utilized to pay out for the energy.
The CARES Act involves a provision for GAO to report on the federal reaction to the pandemic. In addition, GAO was questioned to conduct a assessment of the award process for the COVID-19 community instruction marketing campaign, as very well as its source of funding.
This report describes, among other troubles: ASPA, Fda, and NIH’s roles in executing the COVID-19 general public schooling marketing campaign, and how ASPA paid out for the marketing campaign awards.
To carry out this get the job done, GAO reviewed and analyzed inter-company agreements, award data files, similar funding files, and the products and solutions created for the community education and learning campaign federal statutes and polices relevant agency steerage and company e-mail communications about the marketing campaign. GAO also interviewed appropriate company officers and contractors, and obtained prepared solutions to concerns concerning the funding used for the campaign.
GAO offered a draft of this report to HHS for assessment and comment. HHS said that it appreciated the chance to overview the draft, and experienced no opinions.
For a lot more facts, get in touch with Alyssa M. Hundrup at (202) 512-7114 or [email protected]