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PERFORMANCE DETAIL CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS OVER PREVIOUS YEARS

CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS OVER PREVIOUS YEARS

In 2003, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) evaluated ATSDR’s planning efforts using its Program Assessment Ratings Tool (PART). The PART audit led to revised goals and measures, which ASTDR is now aggressively implementing. While further measure refinements will continue in annual plans for FY 2008 and beyond, the agency is already realizing improved results and will be reassessed by OMB for the 2007 PART process.

New Measure Improves Tracking and Effectiveness — The PART-initiated revision of ATSDR’s goals led the agency to develop a measure to capture evidence of its impact on public health. The measure requires ATSDR to track the implementation, or acceptance, of the public health recommendations it makes to enforcement agencies, such as the EPA. Specifically, ATSDR adopted a new process aimed at boosting the “acceptance” rate of the agency’s public health recommendations. To improve the process’s effectiveness, ATSDR now uses a database to track recommendations and follows up on those not yet accepted. Because recommendations identify ways to prevent or mitigate human exposures to toxic substances, ATSDR expects this effort to improve public health while also improving the agency’s effectiveness and efficiency. Based on the number of FY 2005 recommendations that have been adopted to date (excluding 20 recommendations pending a decision), 91 percent of the recommendations have been adopted.

Improving Measurement and Impacts at Sites with Documented Exposures — ATSDR has always strived to mitigate the risks associated with exposures. In the past, the agency reported its progress on this goal by detailing its activities with partners in providing various services in affected communities. In FY 2003, ATSDR changed its focus. The agency now measures the impact of its interventions at its most urgent and hazardous sites by comparing pre- and post-intervention morbidity/mortality rates, measuring reductions in environmental exposures, performing biomarker tests, and measuring community behavior changes. These indicators will give ATSDR important new data to use in targeting its resources.

Linking Strategy, Budget, and Performance — ATSDR has made significant progress in integrating its performance planning and measurement with budget decision-making, and it has tied its budget request to its goals and measures. ATSDR now links its budget with agency goals even more powerfully by extending reporting to the level of performance measures. Since FY 2003, the agency has been able to calculate the human resources and financial costs associated with each performance measure. Each office/division met with the Office of the Director and the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation (responsible for GPRA) to discuss its annual performance. On the basis of these discussions, ATSDR cut or reduced funding for certain programs/projects that had performed poorly and/or had low relevance to the agency’s mission and goals.

Systematic Peer-Review of Programs — In FY 2004, NCEH/ATSDR began performing program peer reviews for research and public health programs. The agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), made up of subject matter

experts external to the agency, are to conduct approximately three program reviews each year.

These reviews

evaluate program accomplishments, assess the quality of the agency’s science, evaluate program impact and

direction, and make recommendations on continuing, improving, and modifying the

was conducted for the Hazardous Substances

National Exposure Registry (NER) program.

A second

Emergency

Events

Surveillance

(HSEES)

program.

Since

program. The first such review review was conducted for the the release of the NER review

report, ATSDR has convened provided its response back to

a panel to the BSC.

develop and implement changes. ATSDR Implementation of the plan for addressing

agreed to an action plan and BSC’s concerns began in FY

2006.

The HSEES peer review report has

Subcommittee.

ATSDR’s

written

response

to

been reviewed and approved by the BSC Program Peer Review the report is currently under review and awaiting internal clearance.

The April

BSC also reviewed the 2006. A new review of

Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine program and ATSDR’s site-specific activities was initiated in November 2006.

released

its

report

in

Achieving Efficiency in the Management of Human Capital — ATSDR has achieved greater administrative

efficiency through its administrative merger with ATSDR and NCEH now share a common Office savings by shifting redundant OD staff positions to

NCEH.

The

consolidation

became

effective

January

2,

2004.

of the Director. The administrative consolidation achieved cost front-line public health positions in the divisions (e.g., public health

analysts

and

scientists)

and

through

staff

retirements.

Additionally,

NCEH/ATSDR

negotiated

an

efficiency

measure

with OMB during NCEH’s PART review in 2005. NCEH/ATSDR’s efficiency providing program support through the Office of the Director per $1 million in

measure is to total program

report the budget.”

“Number

of

FTE

FY 2008 ATSDR CONGRESSIONAL JUSTIFICATION SAFER·HEALTHIER·PEOPLE

34

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