WiFi access throughout the campus would allow staff to make better use of their laptops and take them to meetings.67 votes
When CMS employees' names change, it can be difficult to find them in outlook. Therefore, I think CMS should maintain a listing of employee "former names" and "new names" so that we can quickly identify the new name of the person in question.6 votes
Clearly define the roles and responsibilities for both the COTR and the GTL so that each are clear. Train the COTR's and GTL's according to the defined division of work.19 votes
If we are truly "One CMS," then we should have the opportunity through what we would call the "CMS Job Swap Program," to experience other jobs within CMS among all regions and C.O. - Submitted by Cyndi & Di on 11/2312 votes
Don't charge employees an hour or 2 for Holidays when on a compress work schedule. CMS is the only agency that does this.23 votes
My suggestion really incorporates many previous suggestions into a larger plan for redesigning the selection, training and oversight of management within CMS. Year after year, we get our survey results which show that we are one of the worst federal agencies to work for, despite having one of the highest grade structures in the federal workforce. Management gathers and tries to determine what employees want or what perks can be provided to obtain better survey results—making CMS one of the “best places to work.” There isn’t anything wrong with this, except that the focus of the conversation is always what we can do for the employees. I think the change that needs to happen in CMS starts with leadership, and only then can it be expected to filter down to the employees. CMS has smart, hardworking employees and managers, but we, as a whole, have a few flaws. There is a lack of accountability in this organization. Finger-pointing, blame-storming and “throwing people under the bus” are common occurrences among various components in this organization. Leadership is every bit as guilty as employees on this one and in many cases; I think the behavior has “trickled down” from leadership and infected the employees. Communication in this organization, as with most large organizations, is poor and lacking. It is not just a cross component phenomenon, it is lacking between management and the very teams that they manage! People avoid difficult conversations in this organization, it is human nature, but it allows negativity and resentment to fester, and fester it has.
I believe that for employees to truly be happy and feel valued, they need to feel heard, they need to be involved in decision-making, they need to be listened to and feedback from them needs to not just be solicited, but acted upon. Respect for each other in the workplace has to be a given, not an option. Conversations must focus on how we find solutions to workplace obstacles and not on “who’s to blame.” In order for any of that to happen, you need to have management/leadership ranks who hold those values dear and consistently promote that behavior by modeling it and expecting it, from their team. Let me just say here, that my hands are by no means clean, I have learned many of these lessons the hard way, and continue to learn them. Earning the trust and respect of our employees will take time and a lot of effort, and this is the only way I can think of to start us off down that path.
CMS is structured in a way that promotes technical expertise into management. In order to get your 14, making you eligible for a 15 management position, you either have to be a technical advisor or a special assistant—neither of these positions insures, develops or promotes the ability to lead and manage. Consequently, what CMS has at its helm is largely a group of really great and hard working technical advisors, who may or may not have ever had any interest (or skill) in leading people. Add to that that CMS does not have a formal, structured management development program and while all managers must go through LINC (leadership in context) training, many don’t get to attend until they have been in management for several months (which is often several months too late).
There is also no formal structure for employees to provide feedback to their managers (i.e., a 360 degree review), so managers can remain blissfully unaware of the mistakes they are making with their team. Finally, many managers have been burned with EEO or other types of grievances and are fearful of dealing with problem employees, others just don’t want to be bothered because it’s “too much paperwork.” Allowing poor performance or misconduct lowers the morale of those employees who are following the rules and are working hard. They see their neighbors getting away with surfing the net, talking all day on personal calls, taking the extended version of lunch and they wonder why they are working so hard. After all, nothing bad happened to X, right?
So, for those of you that are still reading, what does all this mean…well, it means that CMS needs to make a firm commitment to the selection, development and oversight of its leadership. At a minimum, CMS should:
1) Create a “management track” GS-14. Certain divisions have deputy directors, others don’t. I suggest using those positions, pooling them for the agency and allowing a certain number of management development 14s. These 14s would be selected not for their technical expertise, but based on their interest in leadership. They would rotate through different divisions in the agency, working under a variety of CMS senior leadership who are committed to leadership development.
2) Management training would be more intensive and would occur BEFORE managers were given an actual team to lead. Emotional Intelligence, Crucial Conversations and LINC would all be required, at a minimum.
3) Managers would be subject to a 360 review bi-annually. Managers who continually received poor feedback or showed no improvement from year-to-year would be removed from the management ranks.
• The 360-degree review of a manager by their employees should be anonymous. This would avoid the potential for even sub-conscious retaliation by the manager.
• The 360-degree review should include a numeric rating as well as the opportunity for employees to provide written narrative to explain the basis for their rating on any element. Any manager that gets a combined, overall rating from all their employees below a certain numeric value is flagged (it may be a good idea to throw out the highest and lowest ratings when calculating the overall value).
• Managers who receive an overall rating below a certain numeric value should be subject to PIPs based on the results of the 360-degree review.
4) Every Manager’s PMAP would include a “leadership” element; this would include developing and leading staff, as well as dealing with problem employees and working to rectify such situations appropriately.
5) If an employee or employees report that a manager yells or uses abusive/foul language when talking to employees or other managers, that manager will be warned once. If the unprofessional language occurs again the manager will be removed from their current position and barred from any leadership/management position (including that of team leader). The agency should communicate (and enforce) a clear, zero-tolerance for unprofessional/abusive language on the part of managers (and all employees, really).
6) Once the management 360 is implemented, it should be implemented for employees as well. The goal of this not so much to allow employees to “rate” one another, but to provide an avenue where co-workers can provide constructive feedback to each other. Employees would need to solicit feedback from their managers and their co-workers and would be expected to be responsive to that feedback as well. This would include adding an element to all employee PMAPs on being receptive to feedback and responsive to it as well.
I’m sure there is probably more that needs to be done, but I think this is the minimum that would need to be implemented to get us on the right track. Obviously, this suggestion will make some managers and some employees very upset, but I think those that will be most bothered by these changes are those that have no real interest in improvement, (luckily, I believe this is a small minority in CMS) and unfortunately, sometimes progress takes a few casualties.
My suggestion really incorporates many previous suggestions into a larger plan for redesigning the selection, training and oversight of management within CMS. Year after year, we get our survey results which show that we are one of the worst federal agencies to work for, despite having one of the highest grade structures in the federal workforce. Management gathers and tries to determine what employees want or what perks can be provided to obtain better survey results—making CMS one of the “best places to work.” There isn’t anything wrong with this, except that the focus of the conversation is always what…28 votes
Anyone that has tried to schedule a meeting room during core hours within a week has found this task to be very frustrating because no rooms are available. Then when walking around the building there always seems to be a number of meeting rooms empty. This implies that people are booking rooms just in case they need one. I tried to recently book a room and someone had 3 rooms booked with no description for the same day and time. Other people book standing meetings for months ahead of time, just in case they may need it. Here are a few suggestions on how to improve our chances of getting an unoccupied meeting room:
1. Put a limitation into the system not to allow a standing meeting be scheduled for more than a certain number of occurrences in the future. Maybe 8 or 10 weeks maximum.
2. Block anyone from being able to schedule more than 1 meeting room for the same time slot.
3. Give a person or group the authority to remove scheduled meetings that never occur. If a standing meeting is scheduled but the room is always empty then allow the group to cancel future occurrences of the standing meeting.
4. If possible give each division 1 on 2 meeting rooms to manage. Large rooms such as the CMS-C rooms should not be assigned to divisions.
Anyone that has tried to schedule a meeting room during core hours within a week has found this task to be very frustrating because no rooms are available. Then when walking around the building there always seems to be a number of meeting rooms empty. This implies that people are booking rooms just in case they need one. I tried to recently book a room and someone had 3 rooms booked with no description for the same day and time. Other people book standing meetings for months ahead of time, just in case they may need it. Here are a…8 votes
Every year we recieve a copy of the results of the recently renamed Human Capital Survey. Every year other HHS agencies are ranked significantly higher. Why don't we consider querying or reviewing what these agencies are doing to obtain the higher rank? In addition to obtaining feedback from employees, who should try to follow the lead of the more successful agencies, identify if thier solutions can be adopted by CMS. I suggest that we should not try to reinvent the wheel, we can get a blue print.2 votes
In the private sector many companies allow team members at any level to correspond thru email using their own mobile phone equipment. This reduces a cost for CMS not buying the phone, increases productivity of employees who choose to do so by allowing them to communicate from anywhere and mobile platforms are usually more restricted/secure than personal computers. We currently have access to webmail so let’s take it one step further.8 votes
Managers using the Kindle Wireless Reading Device to download their materials that are needed for meetings they attend can save on paper and it will be less materials to carry with them from one meeting to another. It will also cut back on manual labor of making a lot of paper copies that are sometime not needed.4 votes
CMS has a very long history of selecting employees based on familial relationships. It is not uncommon to have many family members working in and around CMS, however one has to wonder how all of these family members meet the KSAs or all have the experience to work here? I think that the entire Agency suffers when employees are merely selected based on nepotism. Selections made to just "get the person" in the door are not fair to the beneficiaries, providers, and other entities that we serve. Additionally, this is not fair to internal employees who are working hard to get promoted or to those that are eligible and knowledgeable and competing to get into a Federal-career. CMS cannot continue this broad-brushed nepotism, just because family members need a job or career. These acts result in under serving the people that we are trusted to serve, inadequate oversight of a major Federal program that is highly scrutinized, more work for the knowledgeable worker-bees that have to pull up the slack and rear of those that have been hired for a paycheck. This is government waste at its best.
I support a selection committee that has no affiliation to CMS. I think that this committee should provide the 1st level review of external resumes and applications received for consideration. We already outsource contractors for the majority of our work, so this would not be a major undertaking. In fact, I am sure that there are other Agencies that may find this idea appealing. This committee would never have any communication with CMS; therefore there would be no opportunity for management to "inquire" as to where a particular "person's" resume is. The communication flow would be between HR and the committee; however there would be rules in place that HR could not influence the committee's decision or actions. Additionally, this would also provide a basis for looking at cases where eligible persons were very qualified, but no selection is made, but the FTE slot is still available.
We are entrusted with ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receive the best health care possible; shouldn't they also have the best "PEOPLE" within these walls and corridors working for them?
CMS has a very long history of selecting employees based on familial relationships. It is not uncommon to have many family members working in and around CMS, however one has to wonder how all of these family members meet the KSAs or all have the experience to work here? I think that the entire Agency suffers when employees are merely selected based on nepotism. Selections made to just "get the person" in the door are not fair to the beneficiaries, providers, and other entities that we serve. Additionally, this is not fair to internal employees who are working hard to…8 votes
Ensure that individuals have essential knowledge, leadership, and "people" skills before promotion to management. Create quarterly evaluation process so that employees can give feedback on current managers without fear of consequences.86 votes
Create CMS Enterprise Beneficiary and Provider Profiles to include CHIP, Medicaid, and Medicare data9 votes
OIS responded that your idea is currently in the planning and early development phases. The vision of the Master Data Management (MDM) system is to use modern data engineering methods and tools to provide complete profiles of Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program data. The MDM system will offer a suite of services that will allow CMS to link and synchronize Beneficiary, Provider, and Organization data from multiple disparate sources.
Provider and Beneficiary profiles, or Books of Records, will be obtainable through a single call to a trusted, authoritative data service that is part of the MDM system. Additional cost estimates to include Medicaid/CHIP data into the MDM has been estimated to be $60Million dollars over several years.
Have all Administrative Specialists attend standardized training so that all know the proper way to handle common tasks such as travel/GovTrip, ITAS, scheduling meetings, (i.e., all "secretarial duties").3 votes
When almost every employee in a certain area has similar concerns with a particular manager, it usually goes unnoticed (more like ingnored) unless there's a "big stink" that causes higher management to pay attention. Allow the employees to have some impact on a manager's performance eval. Some managers may not realize how their employees view them, and they may not care until it actually has the potential to affect their evaluation...82 votes
Too often CMS upper mgmt says that 1 million or 5 million dollar overpayments are too small to pursue. If CMS would make an effort to recover all overpayments, perhaps providers would be more cautious in submitting claims.5 votes
CMS agrees that all overpayments must be pursued. CMS collects all overpayments that have been calculated, that are greater than $100.
The commenter may have been referring to the development of cases that are believed to be small dollar value prior to the calculation of the overpayment. Resource constraints have historically been the driver of that approach. CMS, its contractors and law enforcement have prioritized their case load to go after high dollar value cases or instances where patient safety may be compromised.
CPI believes the new approaches to fraud detection being implemented through predictive analytics, as well as streamlining existing processes, will permit us to be able to take more actions in a shorter amount of time with the same amount of resources.
It's distracting and unnecessary.2 votes
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