In 1979, Congress established the Board for Correction of PHS Commissioned Corps Records (Board) to provide an additional appeal route for any present or past Commissioned Corps Officer, regular or reserve, who believes there is an error in his or her record or that he or she has been treated unjustly.
Functioning on behalf of the Secretary, the Board is the highest administrative appeal within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Corps officers. It is in the Program Support Center. It is administratively removed from the Commissioned Corps to ensure fairness and avoid bias in Board decisions.
As a service to the Board, the Commissioned Corps has a major role in collecting information from Departmental records and other Corps records outside the Department for submission to the Board staff. As an independent entity, the Board has the authority to seek information from outside Corps channels if judged to be critical to making decisions. If practical, this is done only in extraordinary circumstances. The Board is not an investigative agency; however, it reserves the right to obtain additional information necessary to make a recommendation.
The Board can consider appeals resulting from errors or injustices dealing with appointments to the Corps, disciplinary actions, disability retirements, reinstatements, use of leave, entitlements to pay and allowances, promotions, separations from the Corps, etcetera, and removal of inaccurate, untimely, incomplete or irrelevant information from official officer records.
Frequently Asked Questions
On September 29, 1979, Congress amended Public Law 96-76, Public Health Service Act, Section 312, Section 221a (a) (12) (42 U.S.C. 213a (a) (12)) extending to the Commissioned Corps the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 1552 allowing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through a board of civilians, to revise the record of any Corps officer when necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice. The Board has the authority to correct any record in the Department pertaining to the service of an officer provided the correction pertains to an error or removing an injustice. The Secretary is also authorized to pay any amount that becomes due from the U.S. Government as a result of correcting an error or removing an injustice.
Three persons are selected from a rotating panel of senior level (GS-15), SES or equivalent employees of the Department of Health and Human Services to serve as Board members. One member is the Chairperson. Active duty Corps officers cannot serve on the Board. The Board meets in Executive Session to determine whether an error or an injustice exists and recommends corrective action to the Approving Official based on documentation in the record. The Director, Program Support Center, is the Approving Official on all Board recommendations. Except when procured by fraud, a correction by the Board is: "final and conclusive on all officers of the United States." The Board's decision is appealable to the US Court of Claims. The case record developed by the Board is admissible evidence in court.
The Board may act only on the evidence you provide, may request more proof or, in rare cases, may convene a hearing. It may refuse to consider your appeal if you do not provide sufficient proof to prove the existence of an error or an injustice. It may also refuse to consider your appeal if the Board does not have the jurisdiction to determine the matter presented or if it cannot grant the relief you request.
The Board can uphold your entire appeal or grant partial relief. If your appeal is upheld, the Board can instruct the Corps to make the appropriate correction to your record and pay you any amount that becomes due as a result of correcting an error or removing an injustice. If your appeal is denied, no correction of your record is necessary. The Corps is the primary means through which Board decisions are implemented. The Corps acts under the authority granted by the Board to correct an error or remove an injustice. The Corps informs the Board of the status of implementation of all Board decisions.