OPM Touts Its Accomplishments During the Obama Administration

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By on January 7, 2017 in Agency News with 0 Comments

The Office of Personnel Management released its exit report this week in which the agency touted what it considers its most significant accomplishments made during the past eight years.

Expanding Diversity and Inclusion

OPM has made a strong push to expand diversity among the federal workforce over the last few years. Consequently, many of the accomplishments highlighted in the report were centered around diversity and inclusion.

For example, the report touted accomplishments such as hiring disabled federal employees in record numbers, hiring more veterans, expanding the rights of LGBT employees, establishing the Diversity and Inclusion Government-wide council in 2015, combating implicit bias through leadership training, and highlighting efforts to close the gender pay gap.

OPM said in the report, however, that there was more work to be done to further expand diversity and inclusion among the federal workforce:

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is not a task to be delegated. It is a core principle of human capital management that is critical to the success of every project, team, or organization. This should be a priority for senior leaders across government, and agencies should take an enterprise wide approach based on research-informed best practices for hiring, retention, and development.

IT Accomplishments

OPM said in the report that it has made significant progress in modernizing and securing its IT systems and stressed that this should continue to be a priority going forward.

This was particularly important in light of the data breaches announced by the agency in 2015 that left the personal data of millions of current and former federal workers vulnerable. OPM made mention of the two cybersecurity incidents in the report and said that it took aggressive measures to secure the agency’s IT systems afterwards as well as offer identity monitoring services to impacted federal workers.

Looking towards the future, OPM said it has developed a detailed plan for IT modernization and is pushing for more funding in its budget to continue its IT expansion efforts.

Expanding FEHB Benefits

The exit report said that during the last eight years, the benefits available under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program have continued to improve by extending coverage to dependents of FEHB enrollees up to age 26, introducing comprehensive tobacco cessation coverage, expanding coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis for individuals with autism, encouraging parity for mental health and substance use disorder services, and expanding access to treatment for individuals with gender dysphoria.

OPM also said that since 2011, the FEHB has experienced the longest sustained period of low annual premium growth in its 56 year history and has kept rate increases below market average for large employers.

Providing Services to Retired Federal Employees

The report said that OPM has improved the services it offers to retired federal workers by expanding its use of online portals and using modern quality improvement techniques. It said, however, that there is a long way to go in this area, specifically that it needs to increase staff and maintain a commitment to technology and data.

It is possible this is a reference to the expanding backlog of retirement claims the agency reports on monthly. The backlog stood at 15,097 as of the latest count at the end of 2016 which actually was an improvement over previous months.

OPM has said in the past that it needs more money in its budget to hire more federal employees to help reduce the backlog. However, one Senator said in a recent report that the solution to the backlog problem was to use computer software to quickly process the applications. There was no clear position taken in the exit report as to what new direction, if any, the agency might go on this issue in the future.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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