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Military Health System

Defense Health Agency Office of the Inspector General

Questions and answers about filing a complaint with the DHA Office of the Inspector General.

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Q1:

Who may file an IG complaint?

A:

Anyone may file a complaint. If you have a concern and are unsure if you should file a complaint, contact your local IG office or the DHA OIG for guidance. While the IG can accept third party complaints, it’s always best for the actual person who has an issue or witnessed the alleged wrongdoing to file the complaint.

Q2:

Is the IG the best source to resolve my issues or complaints?

A:

It depends. There are many situations for which law or regulation provides personnel with a remedy or means of redress. Generally, the IG can’t assist personnel until they have exhausted the established means of redress. 

Matters not appropriate for DHA IG:

If you have an issue and are unsure of your options, contact the IG for advice. You may follow procedures for filing a complaint at DHA Office of the Inspector General | Health.mil. Or call our Hotline at 703-681-9700.

Q3:

What issues are typically appropriate to present to the IG?

A:

IGs normally handle complaints that can’t be resolved by other established redress process. For example:

  • Violations of a Law, Regulation or Policy
  • Fraud, Waste and Abuse
  • Gross Mismanagement
  • Procurement / Contract Fraud
  • Misuse of Government Property
  • Bribery / Accepting Gratuities
  • Military Whistleblower Reprisal (WBR)
  • Government Travel or Purchase Card Fraud

If you have an issue and are unsure of your options, contact the IG for advice. You may follow procedures for filing a complaint at DHA Office of the Inspector General | Health.mil. Or call our Hotline at 703-681-9700.

Q4:

Can I be disciplined for contacting an IG?

A:

No! Lawful communication with an IG is a protected communication. A supervisor or employee is prohibited from taking action against a federal employee or service member for having made a protected communication. However, the IG is obligated to report or refer allegations, depending on the nature of the matter, to the appropriate authority regardless of who presents matters to the IG.

Q5:

Can I talk to an IG off the record?

A:

Unfortunately not. Information provided to an IG is NEVER off the record. However, while we protect the confidentiality of all sources, the IG cannot guarantee confidentiality.

Q6:

Do I need to use my chain of command? What if they are the problem?

A:

The IG highly encourages the use of the chain of command or supervisors to address issues at the lowest level. We will always ask if you have contacted your chain of command about your issues. If your supervisor is the source of your problem, have you spoken to your command? Still in doubt? You may follow procedures for filing a complaint at the DHA Office of the Inspector General website, or call our Hotline at 703-681-9700.

Q7:

Do I need my supervisor’s or chain of command’s permission to see the IG?

A:

No. There are no preconditions that need to be met before you see an IG. However, if you see us during duty hours, ensure that you have permission to be excused from your appointed place of duty.

Q8:

How do I file a complaint with the DHA OIG?

A:

Before you file a complaint, review the listing of avenues of redress to ensure your issue is appropriate for the DHA OIG Hotline. 

 TYPE OF COMPLAINT  APPROPRIATE AGENCY TO RESOLVE THE COMPLAINT
Abuse of Authority Civilian – Contact your servicing Human Resources Office for information
Military – Depends on nature of complaint. Consult with Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) for information
Administrative Separation

Military Personnel Office or Legal Service Office

Adultery Commander
Alcohol and Drug Related Problems If an employee is abusive in the workplace and the behavior is associated with drug/alcohol abuse, report the matter to the employee's immediate supervisor. If you know someone that is experiencing problems in the workplace related to drug/alcohol abuse contact the command Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor.
Allegations against Office of Special Counsel (OGC) / Military Defense Counsel DHA: Office of General Counsel (OGC)
Military: Appropriate MILDEP IG; Service Office of The Judge Advocate (OTJAG)
Allegations of Reprisal (Civilian) Appropriated Fund (APF) Employees: Report to the Office of Special Counsel
Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) Employee: Report to the DOD Inspector General
Defense Contractor/Subcontractor Employee: Report to the DOD Inspector General
 Anti-Deficiency Act Violations DHA: Consult with OGC.
Should be reported within 10 working days of the possible violation.
Appeal of Performance Evaluations Commander; Service-specific personnel Office
Appearance of Impropriety Report to the chain of command prior to bringing to the attention of the IG
Article 138 UCMJ (Complaint of Wrong) Commander 
Awards (Civilian) Chain of command or Human Resources
Awards (Military) Chain of command. Contact service-specific Board for Correction of Military. Records if retired.
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) For personal BAH issues, personnel office and your chain of command. Report BAH fraud to the chain of command or the IG office.
Behavioral Health Issues (Suicide, Stress, etc.) Report to your Chain of command, Senior Enlisted Leader, Chaplain, etc. or call one of the Crisis Hotlines.
Change to DHA or Service Publications Proponent for the publication
Claims against the US Government DHA: OGC
Military: SJA
Classification of civilian positions 1st Step: Immediate supervisor
2nd Step: Human Resources
Commander-Directed Investigations Commander, who directed investigation; Installation Legal Office for legal advice; Due-process review after means of redress are exhausted.
Conditions of Employment (Personnel policies, practices, and conditions) Appropriated Fund Employees: Servicing Human Resources Office; Administrative Grievance System; Union Redress
Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) Employees: Servicing NAF Employment Office
Contractor Activities 1st Step: Contracting Officer (KO) or Contracting Officer Representative (COR)
2nd Step: Consult with OGC as necessary
Corrections of Military Records Service-Specific Board for Correction of Military Records
Criminal Matters Report to your Service Investigative Agency
Domestic Violence Law Enforcement; Family Advocacy Program (FAP)
Elimination from Training Commander
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Issues (Discrimination based on membership in a protected class)  Appropriated Fund (APF) Employees: Local EEO Officer
Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) Employees: Local EEO Officer; Civilian Advisory Center; and SJA Labor Counselor as appropriate.
Equal Opportunity in off-base housing Installation's Housing Referral office
Ethics Violations Chain of command, Commander, or IG
Exceptional Family Member Program  Exceptional Family Member coordinator or Health Benefits Advisor, as appropriate
Hazardous Working Conditions Facility Safety Office or Appropriate Service
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Issues 1st Step: MTF HIPAA Compliance and Privacy Officer
2nd Step: DHA Privacy and Civil Liberties Office
Landlord complaints about a Service Member Commander Legal Assistance Office
Integrated Disability Evaluation System (ratings and appeals)
1st Step: Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) at your military hospital or clinic
2nd Step: Office of Soldier Counsel (OSC)
3rd Step: Service Component IG
 Letter of Counseling, Letter of Reprimand, or Article 15 (other
than discrimination/reprisal)
Applicable Service Regulation for the appeal process; commander; Installation SJA Service Office
Local Nationals or Third Country Nationals SJA for advice on proper course of action

Medical Treatment

  • Standard of Care
  • Quality of Care
  • Access to Care

At your military hospital or clinic:

1st Step: Patient Advocate/Relations Office (DHA PI 6025.10) – or - Healthcare Resolution Program (DHA PI 6025.17) 
2nd Step: Deputy Commander for Clinical Services
3rd Step: Commander (Privileging Authority)

Mismanagement Minor problems with management to supervisor or chain of command
Significant allegations of mismanagement to IG
Military Equal Opportunity Issues Commander; Local EO Advisor
National Guard Title 32 Matters Service Component IG
Negotiated Grievance Procedure Bargaining Unit Members should review the collective bargaining agreement and speak to a command bargaining unit representative prior to filing a complaint
Privacy Act Violations 1st Step: HIPAA Compliance and Privacy Officer at your military hospital or clinic
2nd Step: DHA Privacy and Civil Liberties Office
Private Indebtedness Commander
Private indebtedness is an issue between the debtor and the creditor and is the basis for a civil law suit
Prohibited Personnel Practices (APF Employees) Office of Special Counsel

 Promotion Issues Commander
Punishment under UCMJ

Commander; Installation SJA Legal Services

Reserve Component Issues

Service  Component IG

Security Clearance Issues Clearance Revocation or Suspension – Commander and/or Security Officer
Improper use of clearance – Security Officer, Commander, Supervisor, or Military Security
Sexual Assault Report to law enforcement (off-base) or military police (on-base)
-AND-
Report to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC); Commander (for military)
Sexual Harassment (Military) Local EO Advisor/Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention 
Support of Dependents Commander or Legal Service Office
Time and Attendance (Civilian) Minor abuse to chain of command; if command fails to take action and violations continue, report to IG.
Significant abuse to IG
Trafficking in Persons Commander, Service Investigative Agency, or DoD IG
TRICARE Appeals

TRICARE Appeals are made when you don’t agree with a decision made about your benefit. Visit the File a Complaint page for details.

TRICARE Grievances TRICARE Grievances are made when you have a complaint about quality of care; a provider or facility behaved inappropriately; or you have any other non-appealable issue. File a Grievance
TRICARE Provider Fraud or Abuse Report to the appropriate contractor or report to the DHA Program Integrity Fraudline.
Unprofessional Relationships Commander
Whistleblower Reprisal (Civilian) Appropriated Fund (APF) Employees: Report to the Office of Special Counsel
Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) Employee: Report to the DOD Inspector General
Defense Contractor/Subcontractor Employee: Report to the DOD Inspector General

If you have an issue and are unsure of your options, contact the IG for advice. You may follow procedures for filing a complaint at DHA Office of the Inspector General. Or call our Hotline at 703-681-9700.

 

Q9:

What happens after I file a complaint? Am I guaranteed an investigation?

A:

The DHA OIG should reach out to you telephonically or by email to confirm receipt of your request for IG assistance. Additionally, we may need to ask you clarification questions to fully understand your request for IG assistance. We will evaluate all requests to determine if the matter warrants further inquiry. Some matters require an investigation and others do not. It’s important to understand that certain matters don’t fall under DHA OIG purview.

Q10:

Can an Inspector General order my supervisor to fix a problem?

A:

No. The IG has no command authority. Therefore, we gather facts, report, and make recommendations to the Director or level of leadership who can best address the matter.

Q11:

Can I obtain the results of an IG investigation that I initiated?

A:

Personnel, who file complaints that result in an investigation or inquiry, will receive a final notification upon completion of the inquiry. Copy of IG records may be requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process.

Q12:

What happens if someone knowingly provides false information to an IG?

A:

Those who knowingly and intentionally provide false statements to an IG are subject to potential punitive and administrative action. Additionally, we ask complainants to tell the whole story and not omit any information relevant to the matter. 

Q13:

Can I remain anonymous or request confidentiality

A:

You may remain anonymous, but we will not be able to contact you for more information. You may request confidentiality. The IG will make every effort to prevent disclosure of your identity, but we cannot guarantee confidentiality.

Q14:

How does the DHA IG conduct inspections and determine inspection topics?

A:

DHA IG inspections focus on systemic issues rather than recurring inspections of DHA Components or programs. DHA IG inspections follow the DOD Joint IG Inspections model and adhere to the Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) quality standards. There are multiple internal and external inputs to the inspection topic process to ensure selected topics support Director, DHA priorities and add value to the Military Health System.

Last Updated: August 12, 2022
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