Civil Rights Compliance Activities

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducts public education, outreach, complaint investigation and resolution and other compliance activities to prevent and eliminate discriminatory barriers, to ensure the privacy of protected health information, and to enhance access to quality HHS-funded programs. OCR ensures that individuals have equal access and the opportunity to participate in, and receive services from, all HHS programs without facing unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, disability, age, and gender and that the privacy of their health information will be protected. These activities help HHS carry out its overall mission of improving the health and well-being of all people affected by its many programs by protecting their fundamental rights of nondiscrimination and privacy.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for ensuring that HHS beneficiaries of federally-assisted programs receive benefits without discrimination. These benefits are provided through state agencies, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, medical laboratories, hospitals, day care centers, social service agencies and other providers. Any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in the provision of these services because of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex or religion, may file a complaint with OCR, HHS. Individuals may also file complaints of sex discrimination in health training programs receiving Federal financial assistance, and complaints of denials of health care for reasons other than the need and availability of services, by recipients of Hill-Burton grants and loans. OCR also has enforcement responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 1808 of the Small Business Job Protection Act (SBJPA) of 1996. Regarding the ADA, any person who believes that he or she has been denied benefits in health and human services programs and activities conducted by state or local government entities, because of his/her disability, may file a complaint with OCR, HHS. Regarding Section 1808 of the SBJPA, any individual may file a complaint with OCR alleging that an adoption or foster care organization funded by HHS makes placement decisions in violation of Section 1808 of the SBJPA and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Office will investigate complaints and take steps to ensure compliance with applicable civil rights laws. On April 14, 2003, OCR began enforcing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. OCR's activities under the Privacy Rule include: investigating complaints and conducting public education activities that entail outreach to health care providers, clearinghouses and health plans to ensure that they understand their responsibilities under the Rule. Any individual who believes that a person, agency or organization covered under the HIPAA Privacy Rule ("a covered entity") has violated the Privacy Rule may file a complaint with OCR.

Who is eligible to apply...

Anyone who believes he or she has been discriminated against in the manner outlined above; and recipients of Federal financial assistance who desire technical assistance and information for the purpose of assuring their compliance with nondiscrimination laws. Regarding the HIPAA Privacy Rule, any individual who believes that the Privacy Rule has been violated in the manner outlined above; and entities that desire technical assistance and information for the purpose of assuring their compliance with the Privacy Rule.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:


Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Complaints of discrimination and alleged violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule may be filed, and technical assistance information and public education requested, at the Headquarters and Regional Office locations of the Office for Civil Rights.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Not applicable.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


A complaint must be filed not later than 180 days from the last act of the alleged discrimination, unless the time for filing is waived for good cause. OCR began accepting complaints under the HIPAA Privacy Rule on the compliance date of April 14, 2003. Complaints under the Privacy Rule must be filed within 180 days of the date when the complainant knew, or should have known about, the act or omission complained of occurred, unless the time limit is waived for good cause.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not applicable.

Preapplication Coordination

Contact the Director, Office for Civil Rights. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.



Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Not applicable.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

Individuals subject to discrimination and recipients who require technical assistance and information. Regarding the HIPAA Privacy Rule, individuals subject to violation of their health information privacy, and entities that require technical assistance and information.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Investigation of Complaints

Federal administrative agency activities that are initiated in response to requests, either formal or informal, to examine or investigate claims of violations of Federal statutes, policies, or procedure. The origination of such claims must come from outside the Federal government.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Salaries and Expenses) FY 03 $32,972,000; FY 04 est $33,902,000; and FY 05 est $35,357,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Not applicable.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2003, 4,488 individual complaints were filed with OCR (2,221 civil rights discrimination cases and 2,267 Privacy Rule cases). OCR completed action on 2,599 complaint cases in FY 2003 (1,801 discrimination and 798 Privacy Rule), including 1,076 discrimination cases carried over from the preceding year, leaving a year-end inventory of 2,965 pending complaints (1,496 discrimination and 1,469 Privacy Rule). In FYs 2004 and 2005, OCR expects to receive approximately 7,500 complaints each year (2,300 discrimination and 5,200 Privacy Rule.) In FY 2004, OCR expects to close 6,461 cases (2,630 discrimination and 3,831 Privacy Rule); and in FY 2005 approximately 7,300 cases are expected to be closed (2,500 discrimination and 4,800 Privacy Rule). OCR conducts preventative compliance reviews for its traditional civil rights authorities, including pre-grant and post-grant reviews. In FY 2003, OCR completed 2,023 compliance reviews. OCR estimates that approximately 4,400 preventative compliance reviews will be conducted each year in FY 2004 and 2005, 95 percent of which will be pre-grant reviews for Medicare certification purposes. In FY 2004, OCR expects to complete 2,442 reviews, and in FY 2005 approximately 2,500 reviews. To encourage voluntary compliance by recipients, OCR offers technical assistance, public education and outreach. This includes developing and disseminating compliance information, conducting workshops for recipients, designing model compliance plans for various types of covered programs, and training state and local officials who are responsible for achieving compliance. These activities are intended to provide recipients with the skills needed to apply the statutes to particular circumstances. As a result, the technical assistance program promises significant long-term benefits by helping to prevent and eliminate discriminatory practices.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Not applicable.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Not applicable.

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Not applicable.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


Not applicable.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Not applicable.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI, as amended; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, as amended; Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX; Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended; Communications Act of 1934, as amended, Public Telecommunications Financing Act of 1978; Nondiscrimination Provisions of the Public Health Service Act, Titles VI, VII, VIII, and XVI, as amended; Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Public Law 97-35, as amended; Drug Abuse Offense and Treatment Act of 1972, Section 407; Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Act of 1970, Section 321, as amended; Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, as amended, Section 307 (a) (1) and (2), Public Law 98-457; Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II, Subtitle A, Public Law 101-336; Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, Section 1808, Public Law 104-188; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), 42 USC 1320d-d8, 45 CFR Part 160 and Subparts A and E of Part 164--Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (the "Privacy Rule").

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--the implementing regulation (45 CFR 80) and fact sheet entitled "Your Rights Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964"; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973--the implementing regulation for HHS funded programs and activities (45 CFR 84), briefing guide and fact sheets "Your Rights Under Section 504," "Your Rights as a Person with HIV Infection, AIDS, or Related Conditions," "Your Rights Under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act," and the HHS Section 504 federally conducted regulation (45 CFR 85); Age Discrimination Act of 1975--implementing regulations, HHS (45 CFR 91), and government-wide (45 CFR 90), and fact sheet "Your Rights Under the Age Discrimination Act"; Community Service Assurance of the Hill-Burton regulation (42 CFR 124) and fact sheet "Community Service Assurance Under the Hill-Burton Act"; Sex Discrimination in Health-Related Training Programs regulation (45 CFR 83); fact sheets on Section 1808/Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); "How to File a Discrimination Complaint with OCR"; "Know Your Civil Rights"; and various other civil rights publications. HIPAA regulations and standards, including the Privacy Rule, 45 CFR Part 160 and Subparts A and E of Part 164; fact sheets and guidances on specific aspects of the Privacy Rule, and additional compliance tools such as "Am I a Covered Entity" and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). A complete list of Privacy Rule publications is available. All literature is available at no charge; however, because of budgetary constraints and availability of stock, quantities may be limited. Some publications are available in languages other than English; and all publications are available in alternative formats for individuals with disabilities.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Regional Manager, Office for Civil Rights, HHS Regional Offices. (See Additional Contact Information - FMR Help for listing.)

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Director, Program, Policy and Training Division, Office for Civil Rights, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 509-F6, 200 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201. Telephone: (202) 619-1002. Director, Office for Civil Rights, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 509-F6, 200 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201. Telephone: (202) 619-0403. FTS is unavailable. Hotlines: 1-800-368-1019 (voice); 1-800-537-7697 (TDD). Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule information hotline: 1-866-627-7728.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: