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


AHRQ has developed administrative mechanisms to allow affected persons to seek and obtain correction of disseminated information that does not comply with OMB, HHS and AHRQ guidelines. Persons seeking correction of AHRQ-produced information should follow the procedures below.

  1. Responsibility of the Complainant

    To seek a correction of information disseminated by the Agency, complainants should follow the procedures described below.

    Complaints or requests for review and correction of information shall be in written hard copy or electronic form. They shall be sent to the Agency by regular or electronic mail. Letters (written hard copy) should be sent to:

    Office of the Director
    540 Gaither Road
    Rockville, MD 20850

    Electronic mail should be sent to info@ahrq.gov. Complaints should state "Information Quality Concern" in the subject line. The body of the complaint shall state that a request for correction of information is being submitted.

    Complaints shall contain a detailed description of the specific material that needs to be corrected including a detailed citation, e.g., the publication title, date, and publication number, if any, or the Web site and web page address (url). Complaints should describe the specific reasons for believing the information does not comply with OMB, HHS, or AHRQ guidelines and is in error and supporting documentation, if any. In addition, they should include specific recommendations for correcting the information; a description of how the person submitting the complaint is affected by the information error; and the name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, and organizational affiliation, if any, of the individual or organization making the complaint. Requesters 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.

    In determining whether and how to address a request, the Agency will consider such factors as the Agency's budget, resources, and priorities, as well as the complexity of the correction task itself. Also, it needs to be understood that it may not be in the public interest for the Agency to devote significant resources to correcting information where the expenditure of such resources is not, in the Agency's view, cost effective in light of the significance of the asserted error, the benefits that are likely to be derived from such a correction, the costs of the correction, and the Agency's more pressing priorities and obligations.

  2. Responsibility of the Agency

    Based on a review of the information provided, the Agency will determine whether a correction is warranted and if, so what action to take. The Agency will respond to the requestor by letter or e-mail. The Agency's response will explain the findings of the review and the actions that the Agency 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 and the magnitude of the correction. The response will describe how the complainant may request reconsideration. The Agency 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 Agency 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 Agency'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 Agency's decision. The appeal shall state the reasons why the Agency response is insufficient or inadequate. Complainants shall attach a copy of their original request and the Agency response to it, clearly mark the appeal with the words, "Information Quality Appeal," and send the appeal to the addresses for hard copy or electronic submissions identified above.

    The Agency will respond to all requests for appeals within 60 calendar days of receipt. If the request requires more than 60 calendar days to resolve, the Agency will inform the complainant that more time is required and indicate the reason why and an estimated decision date.

    The Agency official who resolved the original complaint will not have responsibility for the appeal.