Health Research Misconduct:

HHS' Handling of Cases Is Appropriate, but Timeliness Remains a Concern

HEHS-95-134: Published: Aug 3, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined whether the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Research Integrity (ORI): (1) has the appropriate policies, procedures, and investigative practices for handling misconduct allegations in a timely; and (2) has any staffing issues that may adversely affect ORI responsiveness.

GAO found that: (1) ORI has developed and implemented procedures for handling misconduct cases by assessing the qualifications of its investigative staff, the level of independence and professional care needed to conduct investigations, and other qualitative standards for planning, executing, and reporting investigation results; (2) the techniques ORI uses in handling misconduct cases raises a few concerns; (3) despite ORI success in implementing procedures for handling misconduct cases, it continues to experience delays in closing cases; (4) ORI needs a comprehensive assessment of its resources since it faces a substantial case backlog; and (5) ORI has initiated a number of actions to improve productivity and plans to refine its planning processes during fiscal year 1995.

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