• Text Resize A A A
  • Print Print
  • Share Share on facebook Share on twitter Share


System name: 

Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps Board Proceedings, HHS/PSC/HRS.

Security classification: 


System location: 

Division of Commissioned Personnel (DCP), HRS/PSC, Room 4–36, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857–0001.

Duplicates of records may also be maintained in operating offices (duty stations) of the Department and other agencies and organizations to which PHS Commissioned Corps officers are assigned. Contact the System Manager for the location of specific records.

Names and addresses of contractors given information under routine use 4 can be obtained from the System Manager at the location identified below.

Categories of individuals covered by the system: 

Commissioned officers (including active, inactive, terminated, retired and deceased officers) and applicants to the PHS Commissioned Corps.

Categories of records in the system: 

The categories of records in this system consist of the following:

1. Appointment Board files consisting of applications, references, school transcripts, and other materials used in the appointment examination process.

2. Promotion Board files consisting of recommendations from PHS components and worksheets from previous promotion boards.

3. Officer Special Pay Review Board files consisting of Special Pay contracts, certification of eligibility by PHS components, information pertaining to disciplinary actions and related documents.

4. Assimilation Board files consisting of PHS component recommendations, information pertaining to disciplinary actions and related documents.

5. Three-Year File Review Board files consisting of recommendations from PHS components, information pertaining to disciplinary actions and related documents.

6. Chief Professional Officer Nominating Board files, consisting of recommendations from PHS programs and officials, curriculum vitae for officers under consideration, evaluation materials and other material used by the Board in its deliberations.

7. Flag Officer Billet Assignment Board and Flag Officer Nominations Board records consisting of recommendations from PHS programs and officials, curriculum vitae for officers under consideration, evaluation materials and other materials used by the Board in its deliberations.

8. Voluntary Retirement Board files consisting of recommendations from PHS components and worksheets.

9. Records from other Board processes instituted as part of the administration of the PHS Commissioned Corps personnel system.

Authority for maintenance of the system: 

The Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 202–217, 218a, 224, 228, 233, and other pertinent sections); The Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 410(m) et seq.); portions of Title 10, U.S.C., related to the uniformed services; portions of the Title 37, U.S.C., related to pay and allowance for members of the uniformed services; portions of Title 38, U.S.C., related to benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs; sections of 50 U.S.C. App., related to the selective service obligations and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act; E.O. 9397, "Numbering System for Federal Accounts Relating to Individual Persons"; E.O. 10450, "Security Requirements for Government Employment"; and E.O. 11140, which delegates the authority to administer the PHS Commissioned Corps from the President to the Secretary, HHS.


The information is used by the Program Support Center (PSC), DCP, HHS Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) and other organizations where commissioned officers are assigned, to:

1. Recommend or decide on appropriate actions in the areas of commissioned corps personnel administration listed above.

2. Prepare the "PHS Commissioned Officer Roster and Promotion Seniority of the Public Health Service" which contains the names and status of officers on active duty.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses: 

These records or information from these records may be used:

1. To disclose information to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to a verified inquiry from the congressional office made at the written request of that individual.

2. To the Department of Justice, a court or other tribunal, when: (a) HHS, or any component, thereof; or (b) any HHS employee in his or her official capacity; or (c) any HHS employee in his or her individual capacity where the Department of Justice (or HHS, where it is authorized to do so) has agreed to represent the employee; or (d) the United States or any agency thereof where HHS determines that the litigation is likely to affect HHS or any of its components is a party to litigation or has interest in such litigation, and HHS determines that the use of such records by the Department of Justice, the court or other tribunal is relevant and necessary to the litigation and would help in the effective representation of the governmental party, provided, however, that in each case, HHS determines that such disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records are collected.

3. To disclose pertinent information to appropriate Federal, State, or local agencies; international agencies; or foreign governments responsible for investigating, prosecuting, enforcing or implementing statutes, rules, regulations or orders when PHS becomes aware of evidence of a potential violation of civil or criminal law.

4. When the Department contemplates contracting with a private firm for the purpose of collating, analyzing, aggregating, or otherwise refining records in this system, relevant records will be disclosed to such a contractor. The contractor will be required to maintain Privacy Act safeguards with respect to such records. These safeguards are explained in the section entitled "Safeguards."

5. To disclose information to the Department of Labor, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration or other Federal agencies having special employee benefit programs; to a Federal, State, county or municipal agency; or to a publicly recognized charitable organization when necessary to adjudicate a claim under a benefit program, or to conduct analytical studies of benefits being paid under such programs, provided such disclosure is consistent with the purposes for which the information was originally collected.

6. To disclose information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at any stage in the legislative coordination and clearance process in connection with private relief legislation as set forth in OMB Circular No. A–19, or for budgetary or management oversight purposes.

7. To disclose information to Government training facilities (Federal, State, and local) and to non-Government training facilities (e.g. private vendors of training courses or program, private schools) for training purposes, such as crediting of work experience in Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program or verification of status or income.

8. To disclose to Federal and non-Federal agencies information allowing the consideration and selection of officers for honor awards made as a result of the individual's work as a commissioned officer, and to publicize those awards granted. This may include disclosure to other public and private organizations, including the news media, which grant or publicize officer awards and honors.

9. Disclosure may be made to State Boards of Medical Examiners and to equivalent State licensing boards of professional review actions which adversely affect the clinical privileges of health care professionals who either: (a) Are or were employed by the Federal Government; (b) provide or have provided health care service under a fee-for-service contract with the Federal Government; (c) provide or have provided health care services on behalf of the Federal Government as a volunteer or visiting fellow. Boards of Medical Examiners and equivalent State licensing boards are required by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 and by the Medicare and Medicaid Patient and Program Protection Act of 1987 to report this information to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: 


Automated files are stored on disks, microfiche and magnetic tapes. Nonautomated (hard-copy) files are kept in offices, and may be stored in Lektrievers, safes, cabinets, bookcases or desks.


Alphabetically by name, by PHS serial number and/or by Social Security Number.


1. Authorized Users

a. Automated Records. Access to and use of automated records is limited to DCP personnel involved in the specific Board process for which the information was collected. The Business Systems Engineering Division (BSED) provides computer design, programming and support to DCP, and has access to the data to the extent necessary to facilitate the provision of these services to DCP. However, BSED personnel are not authorized to grant access to or make disclosures from automated data in this system to anyone or any organization.

b. Nonautomated records. Access to and use of nonautomated records is limited to DCP personnel involved in the specific Board process for which the information was collected, departmental employees whose official duties require such access or to individuals needing access to the information for purposes stated under routine uses. These individuals are permitted access to records only after they have satisfactorily identified themselves as having an official need to review the information and have provided satisfactory proof of their identities. Access is also granted to individuals who have written permission to review the record when that permission has been obtained from the individual to whom the record pertains. All individuals from outside the Department, to whom disclosure is made pursuant to a routine use, must complete Privacy Act nondisclosure oaths and must submit written requests for access to these records showing the name and employing office of the requester, the date on which the record is requested and the purpose for reviewing the information in the records. This written request is then placed into the record.

2. Physical safeguards

a. Automated records. Terminals by which automated records are accessed are kept in offices secured with locks. Automated records on magnetic tape, disks and other computer equipment are kept in rooms designed to protect the physical integrity of the records media and equipment. These rooms are within inner offices to which access is permitted only with special clearance. Outer offices are secured with combination locks. During nonwork hours, all cabinets, storage facilities, rooms and offices are locked and the premises are patrolled regularly by building security forces.

b. Nonautomated records. Nonautomated records are kept in such a way as to prevent observation by unauthorized individuals while the records are actively in use by an authorized employee. When records are not in use, they are closed and secured in desk drawers with locks, filing cabinets with locks, or other security equipment, all of which are kept inside authorized office space which is locked whenever it is not in use. Keys to furniture and equipment are kept only by the individual who is assigned to that furniture or equipment and by the DCP security officer.

3. Procedural safeguards

a. Automated records. Automated records are secured by assigning individual access codes to authorized personnel, and by the use of passwords for specific records created by authorized personnel. Access codes and passwords are changed on a random schedule. In addition, programming for automated records allows authorized personnel to access only those records that are essential to their duties. Remote access to automated data from remote terminals is restricted to the PSC, Office of the Surgeon General and personnel officials where commissioned officers are employed. No access is permitted to organizations that do not have automated personnel recordkeeping systems that comply with Privacy Act requirements.

b. Nonautomated records. All files are secured when employees are absent from the premises and are further protected by locks on entry ways and by the building security force. Official records may not be removed from the physical boundaries of DCP. When records are needed at a remote location, copies of the records will be provided. When copying records for authorized purposes, care is taken to ensure that any imperfect or extra copies are not left in the copier room where they can be read, but are destroyed or obliterated.

4. Contractor Guidelines. A contractor who is given records under routine use 4 must maintain the records in a secured area, allow only those individuals immediately involved in the processing of the records to have access to them, prevent any unauthorized persons from gaining access to the records, and return the records to the System Manager immediately upon completion of the work specified in the contract. Contractor compliance is assured though inclusion of Privacy Act requirements in contract clauses, and through monitoring by contract and project officers. Contractors who maintain records are instructed to make no disclosure of the records except as authorized by the System Manager and as stated in the contract.

Retention and disposal: 

Files pertaining to all board proceedings are only incorporated into 09–40–0001, Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps General Personnel Records, HHS/PSC/HRS to the extent required to provide sufficient documentation of an involuntary or adverse action. Special Pay Review Boards and board of inquiry records remain in this system as long as they are needed for administrative purposes, after which time they are destroyed by shredding. All promotion, assimilation and 3 year review board documentation is retained for a period of 5 years after which it is destroyed by shredding. Appointment board files are incorporated into 09–40–0001, Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps General Personnel Records, HHS/PSC/HRS when the applicant comes onto active duty with the commissioned corps with the exception of the reference forms which are shredded after 5 years. If the applicant does not come onto active duty, the file is destroyed by shredding when the file is closed.

System manager(s) and address: 

Director, DCP/HRS/PSC, Room 4A–15, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857–0001.

Notification procedure: 

Same as Access Procedures. Requesters should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought.

Record access procedures: 

1. General procedures. An individual (and/or the individual's legal representative) seeking access to his/her records may contact the DCP Privacy Act Coordinator for information about obtaining access to the records. Each individual seeking access will be required to verify his/her identity to the satisfaction of the DCP employee providing access. Refusal to provide sufficient proof of identity will result in denial of the request for access until such time as proof of identity can be obtained. The System Manager has authority to release records to authorized officials within DCP, HHS and other organizations where commissioned officers are assigned.

If a determination is made that the material sought contains medical information that is likely to have an adverse effect on the requester, the requester shall be asked to designate in writing a responsible representative who will be willing to review the record and inform the subject individual of the material's contents at the representative's discretion. Such a representative must provide proof that s/he is duly authorized to review the record by either the individual or the individual's legal guardian. A parent, guardian or legal representative who requests notification of, or access to, a dependent/incompetent person's record shall designate a family physician or other health professional (other than a family member) to whom the record, if any, will be sent. The parent or guardian must verify his/her relationship to the dependent/incompetent person as well as his/her own identity.

2. Requests in person. An individual who is the subject of a record and who appears in person seeking access shall provide his/her name and at least one piece of tangible identification (e.g., PHS Commissioned Corps Identification Card, driver's license or passport). Identification cards with current photograph are required. The records will be reviewed in the presence of an appropriate DCP employee, who will answer questions and ensure that the individual neither removes nor inserts any material into the record without the knowledge of the DCP employee. If the individual requests a copy of any records reviewed, the DCP employee will provide them to the individual. The DCP employee will record the name of the individual granted access, the date of access, and information about the verification of identity on a separate log sheet maintained in the office of the DCP employee who reviewed the record.

3. Requests by mail. Written requests must be addressed to the System Manager or the DCP Privacy Act Coordinator at the address shown as the system location above. All written requests must be signed by the individual seeking access. A comparison will be made of that signature and the signature maintained on file prior to release of the material requested. Copies of the records to which access has been requested will be mailed to the individual. The original version of a record will not be released except in very unusual situations when only the original will satisfy the purpose of the request.

4. When an individual to whom a record pertains is mentally incompetent or under other legal disability, information in the individual's records may be disclosed to any person who is legally responsible for the care of the individual, to the extent necessary to assure payment of benefits to which the individual is entitled.

5. Requests by phone. Because positive identification of the caller cannot be established with sufficient certainty, telephone requests for access to records will not be honored.

6. Accounting of disclosures. An individual who is the subject of records maintained in this records system may also request an accounting of all disclosures made outside the Department, if any, that have been made from that individual's records.

Contesting record procedures: 

Contact the System Manager at the address specified under System Location above and reasonably identify the record. Specify the information being contested. State the corrective action sought, with supporting justification, along with information to show how the record is inaccurate, incomplete, untimely or irrelevant.

Record source categories: 

From individual officers or their service records; efficiency reports; persons providing references; reports of findings and recommendations made by Board members; supervisors; private and Government physicians; hospitals and clinics rendering treatment; licensure and professional credentialing organizations; investigative reports, law enforcement organizations; court records; death certificates and reports of death; survivors and executors of estates; and the records contained in the following systems: 09–40–0001, Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps General Personnel Records, HHS/PSC/HRS; 09–40–0002, Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps Medical Records, HHS/PSC/HRS; and 09–40–0004, Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps Grievance, Investigatory and Disciplinary Files, HHS/PSC/HRS.

System exempted from certain provision of the Act: 


Content created by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Division