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

10/01/2002

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

Existing public comment procedures for rule-makings and other formal agency actions already provide well established procedural safeguards that allow affected persons to raise information quality issues on a timely basis. Accordingly, CMS will use these existing procedures to respond to information quality complaints that arise in this process.

In cases where agency disseminates a study, analysis, or other information prior to the final agency action or information product, requests for correction will be considered prior to the final agency action or information product in those cases where in the agency's judgment issuing an earlier response would not unduly delay issuance of the agency action or information product and the complainant has shown a reasonable likelihood of suffering actual harm from the agency's dissemination if the agency does not resolve the complaint prior to the final agency action or information product.
 

  1. Responsibility of the Complainant

    To seek a correction of information disseminated by the agency, individuals shall follow the procedures described below.

    1. A complaint or request for review and correction of information shall be in written hard copy or electronic form;
    2. it shall be sent to the agency by mail or electronic-mail (e-mail) at the address below; and
    3. it shall state that an information quality 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;
    2. the specific reasons for believing the information does not comply with OMB, HHS, or CMS 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.

    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.
     

  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 specific agency appeals address.

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

  4. Contact

    Complaints filed under this guideline shall be mailed to:

    • Information Quality
      Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
      7500 Security Boulevard
      Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

    Alternatively, the complaint can be emailed to infoquality@cms.hhs.gov

    Appeals filed under this guideline should be mailed or emailed to the same address, and should contain the word "appeal" on the envelope or in the subject line.