HHS Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public. V. Agency Administrative Complaint Procedures

10/01/2002

OPHS has developed administrative mechanisms to allow affected persons to seek and obtain correction of disseminated information that does not comply with OMB, HHS and OPHS guidelines.

  1. Responsibility of the Complainant

    To seek a correction of information disseminated by the agency, individuals should follow the procedures described below. Complainants should be aware that they bear the ‘burden of proof’ with respect to the necessity for correction as well as with respect to the type of correction they seek.

    A complaint or request for review and correction of information must be in written hard copy or electronic form; sent to the agency by mail or electronic-mail (e-mail); and state that an information request for correction is being submitted.

    The complaint shall contain

    1. a detailed description of the specific material that needs to be corrected including where the material is located, i.e. the publication title, date, and publication number, if any, or the Web site and Web page address (url), or the speech title, presenter, date and place of delivery; and
    2. the specific reasons for believing the information does not comply with OMB, HHS or OPHS guidelines and is in error and supporting documentation, if any;
    3. the specific recommendations for correcting the information;
    4. a description of how the person submitting the complaint is affected by the information error; and
    5. the name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, and organizational affiliation, if any, of the individual making the complaint.

    Complaints should be addressed and submitted to:

    Executive Officer
    Office of Public Health and Science
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    200 Independence Ave, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201

    Alternatively, complaints may be e-mailed to: hthompson@osophs.dhhs.gov

  2. Responsibility of the Agency

    Based on a review of the information provided, the relevant OPHS office will determine whether a correction is warranted and, if so, what action to take. The office will respond to the requestor by letter or e-mail. The office's response will explain the findings of the review and the actions that the office will take, if any. The response will consider the nature and timeliness of the information involved and such factors as the significance of the correction on the use of the information, the magnitude of the correction, and the resource requirements for the correction. The response will describe how the complainant may request reconsideration. The office will respond to all requests for correction within 60 calendar days of receipt. If the request requires more than 60 calendar days to resolve, the office will inform the complainant that more time is required and indicate the reason why and an estimated decision date.

  3. Appeals

    If the individual submitting the complaint does not agree with the office's decision (including the corrective action, if any), the complainant may send a written hard copy or electronic request for reconsideration within 30 days of receipt of the office's decision. The appeal shall state the reasons why the office response is insufficient or inadequate. Complainants shall attach a copy of their original request and the office response to it, clearly mark the appeal with the words, "Information Quality Appeal" and send the appeal to the OPHS appeals address.

    The office official who resolved the original complaint will not have responsibility for the appeal.  OPHS will respond to all requests for appeals within 60 calendar days of receipt.  If the request requires more than 60 calendar days to resolve, OPHS will inform the complainant that more time is required and indicate the reason why and an estimated decision date.

    Appeals should be addressed and submitted to:

    Executive Officer
    Office of Public Health and Science
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    200 Independence Ave, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    hthompson@osophs.dhhs.gov