There is no disputing the fact that the Office of Disease Prevention botched the public comment process on the P2P report. But according to the Office of the Inspector General, it’s not worth their attention.
In April, I asked the OIG to investigate and take steps to remedy the mismanagement of the public comment process by ODP. There is significant evidence to suggest that the P2P Panel has still not seen all the public comments, and they are due to issue their final report on June 16th.
On May 12th (oh! the irony!), I received an email from OIG stating in part: “no action will be taken in this matter, as the issues outlined constitute management issues that do not warrant investigation for potential violation of criminal statutes within OIG’s jurisdiction.”
This is disingenuous, at best. The OIG does not just conduct criminal investigations, it is “dedicated to combating fraud, waste and abuse and to improving the efficiency of HHS programs.” The OIG is also responsible “for promoting effective management and quality of the agency’s processes and products.” This is not my first rodeo, folks. I would never have bothered with the OIG if their mission was exclusively limited to criminal investigations.
While OIG refused to take any action in this matter, they did suggest I contact NIH’s Office of Management Assessment. The OMA “provides NIH-wide management, oversight and advice to safeguard agency assets, preserve public trust, and provide administrative infrastructure for NIH Institutes and Centers.”
On May 13th, I wrote to the Director of OMA requesting her immediate assistance to investigate and intervene to remedy the public comment violations. I emphasized that time is of the essence, as the P2P report is due to be published in one month. Given the current facts of the situation, this report will be tainted by the compromised public comment process. As a person who will be directly affected by the report and any subsequent action by NIH, I asked that OMA investigate and intervene to ensure that the report is not published until the panel has received and given due consideration to every single comment submitted by the public.
Meanwhile, my FOIA appeal is still pending and no one at NIH (including ODP) has contacted me regarding this mess. And the clock is ticking, friends. The P2P report will be published in one month and I see little reason to trust that the Panel has seen and given equal consideration to all of our comments.
The clock is ticking.