Appealing HHS decisions for information requests

AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee has brokered an appeals process with the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services media office for reporters facing unreasonable delays or inadequate responses from agency public information officers.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with HHS’s media policies: “Guidelines on the Provision of Information to the News Media.”

Knowledge of the guidelines can give you a leg up in your dealings with HHS agencies, especially in cases in which you are experiencing unreasonable delays – a direct violation of HHS’s stated expectation that its employees “respond promptly to media requests and respect media deadlines.” We recommend saving your email thread, including repeat queries, and documenting delays or inadequate responses.


HHS has identified senior media officials to whom reporters should directly appeal. They are the three people with the title "deputy assistant secretary" who are listed on this page.

If there are issues you’d like to bring to the attention of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee or would like to work on, please contact committee chair Felice J. Freyer or vice chair Sabriya Rice.