Among the many responsibilities of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is the oversight and maintenance of the PHS Administrative Action Bulletin Board. This board shows all individuals who are the subject of administrative action by the ORI due to some form of research misconduct. Individuals on the PHS Administrative Action Bulletin Board are those who are debarred from participation in research into public health issues or subject to supervision or certification, due to previous failures in research integrity.
During the federal government shutdown from January 20-23, 2018, non-essential federal employees were furloughed, resulting in the shutdown of many government services including certain websites. While the shutdown included about half of the HHS employees, most of the HHS databases on which compliance officers rely for their information were not affected. The HHS exclusion list was not affected, so compliance officers have no need to worry about the quality of their information.
Interestingly, the only HHS exclusion database to have gone down during the shutdown was the PHS database. Although the shutdown began on Saturday, January 20th, the PHS database remained up and running for the use of all PCOs throughout the weekend. It only went down on Monday, January 22nd at around 10am ET and was unavailable throughout the day, coming back online on Tuesday morning, January 23rd.
Throughout the government shutdown, Streamline Verify remained on top of the situation, repeatedly retrieving files and checking that the ORI PHS database and the HHS OIG exclusion database were both reliable and available for compliance officer use. Streamline Verify is able to reassure PCOs that the HHS exclusion database experienced no errors at all during the federal shutdown and that the ORI’s PHS database only exhibited errors from around 10am EST on January 22nd until about 11am EST on January 23rd.
Thanks to the brevity of the shutdown and Streamline Verify’s conscientious monitoring of the situation, the temporary loss of the PHS database had no significant impact.