ACUS, the DQA and Federal Information Dissemination in the Internet Era

Inaccurate and misleading data being disseminated in federal databases threatens public health and fiscal integrity. CMS’s National Provider Identifier database and GSA’s Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation are only two examples of federal databases that are disseminating data that don’t meet federal data quality requirements. The Data Quality Act provides a process for correcting data in federal databases. For an example of using the DQA to address technical problems with CMS’s star quality rating systems, see CRE’s letter to CMS here. Also see CMS’s detailed response to CRE’s letter here.

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is in the process of tackling the problem of inaccurate, biased and misleading data dissimination. As an initial step, ACUS’s Committee on Administration and Management has produced a report Agency Information Dissemination in the Internet Era  that includes a section discussing the role of the Information (Data) Quality Act in providing “a useful framework for ensuring that information disseminated by agencies is not erroneous, misleading, inappropriately pejorative, or serves no authorized agency purpose.”

The ACUS committee report’s Draft Recommendation requests that OMB consider clarifying “whether the Information Quality Act applies to new, substantive information in press releases that has not previously been disseminated by the agency” and states that,

Agencies that routinely engage in information dissemination not subject to the Information Quality Act should adopt procedures for accepting and responding to objections to information disseminated by the agency, and for correcting and retracting materially inaccurate statements, subject to exceptions in the public interest.



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