- § 3.304 - Principles for achieving compliance.
- § 3.306 - Complaints to the Secretary.
- § 3.308 - Compliance reviews.
- § 3.310 - Responsibilities of respondents.
- § 3.312 - Secretarial action regarding complaints and compliance reviews.
- § 3.314 - Investigational subpoenas and inquiries.
- § 3.402 - Basis for a civil money penalty.
- § 3.404 - Amount of a civil money penalty.
- § 3.408 - Factors considered in determining the amount of a civil money penalty.
- § 3.414 - Limitations.
- § 3.416 - Authority to settle.
- § 3.418 - Exclusivity of penalty.
- § 3.420 - Notice of proposed determination.
- § 3.422 - Failure to request a hearing.
- § 3.424 - Collection of penalty.
- § 3.426 - Notification of the public and other agencies.
- § 3.504 - Hearings before an ALJ.
- § 3.506 - Rights of the parties.
- § 3.508 - Authority of the ALJ.
- § 3.510 - Ex parte contacts.
- § 3.512 - Prehearing conferences.
- § 3.514 - Authority to settle.
- § 3.516 - Discovery.
- § 3.518 - Exchange of witness lists, witness statements, and exhibits.
- § 3.520 - Subpoenas for attendance at hearing.
- § 3.522 - Fees.
- § 3.524 - Form, filing, and service of papers.
- § 3.526 - Computation of time.
- § 3.528 - Motions.
- § 3.530 - Sanctions.
- § 3.532 - Collateral estoppel.
- § 3.534 - The hearing.
- § 3.538 - Witnesses.
- § 3.540 - Evidence.
- § 3.542 - The record.
- § 3.544 - Post hearing briefs.
- § 3.546 - ALJ's decision.
- § 3.548 - Appeal of the ALJ's decision.
- § 3.550 - Stay of the Secretary's decision.
- § 3.552 - Harmless error.
§ 3.304 - Principles for achieving compliance.
(a) Cooperation. The Secretary will, to the extent practicable, seek the cooperation of providers, PSOs, and responsible persons in obtaining compliance with the applicable confidentiality provisions.
(b) Assistance. The Secretary may provide technical assistance to providers, PSOs, and responsible persons to help them comply voluntarily with the applicable confidentiality provisions.
§ 3.306 - Complaints to the Secretary.
(a) Right to file a complaint. A person who believes that patient safety work product has been disclosed in violation of the confidentiality provisions may file a complaint with the Secretary.
(b) Requirements for filing complaints. Complaints under this section must meet the following requirements:
(1) A complaint must be filed in writing, either on paper or electronically.
(2) A complaint must name the person that is the subject of the complaint and describe the act(s) believed to be in violation of the applicable confidentiality provision(s).
(3) A complaint must be filed within 180 days of when the complainant knew or should have known that the act complained of occurred, unless this time limit is waived by the Secretary for good cause shown.
(4) The Secretary may prescribe additional procedures for the filing of complaints, as well as the place and manner of filing, by notice in the
(c) Investigation. The Secretary may investigate complaints filed under this section. Such investigation may include a review of the pertinent policies, procedures, or practices of the respondent and of the circumstances regarding any alleged violation. At the time of initial written communication with the respondent about the complaint, the Secretary will describe the act(s) that are the basis of the complaint.
§ 3.308 - Compliance reviews.
The Secretary may conduct compliance reviews to determine whether a respondent is complying with the applicable confidentiality provisions.
§ 3.310 - Responsibilities of respondents.
(a) Provide records and compliance reports. A respondent must keep such records and submit such compliance reports, in such time and manner and containing such information, as the Secretary may determine to be necessary to enable the Secretary to ascertain whether the respondent has complied or is complying with the applicable confidentiality provisions.
(b) Cooperate with complaint investigations and compliance reviews. A respondent must cooperate with the Secretary, if the Secretary undertakes an investigation or compliance review of the policies, procedures, or practices of the respondent to determine whether it is complying with the applicable confidentiality provisions.
(c) Permit access to information. (1) A respondent must permit access by the Secretary during normal business hours to its facilities, books, records, accounts, and other sources of information, including patient safety work product, that are pertinent to ascertaining compliance with the applicable confidentiality provisions. If the Secretary determines that exigent circumstances exist, such as when documents may be hidden or destroyed, a respondent must permit access by the Secretary at any time and without notice.
(2) If any information required of a respondent under this section is in the exclusive possession of any other agency, institution, or person, and the other agency, institution, or person fails or refuses to furnish the information, the respondent must so certify and set forth what efforts it has made to obtain the information.
§ 3.312 - Secretarial action regarding complaints and compliance reviews.
(a) Resolution when noncompliance is indicated. (1) If an investigation of a complaint pursuant to § 3.306 of this subpart or a compliance review pursuant to § 3.308 of this subpart indicates noncompliance, the Secretary may attempt to reach a resolution of the matter satisfactory to the Secretary by informal means. Informal means may include demonstrated compliance or a completed corrective action plan or other agreement.
(2) If the matter is resolved by informal means, the Secretary will so inform the respondent and, if the matter arose from a complaint, the complainant, in writing.
(3) If the matter is not resolved by informal means, the Secretary will -
(i) So inform the respondent and provide the respondent an opportunity to submit written evidence of any mitigating factors. The respondent must submit any evidence to the Secretary within 30 days (computed in the same manner as prescribed under § 3.526 of this subpart) of receipt of such notification; and
(ii) If, following action pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, the Secretary decides that a civil money penalty should be imposed, inform the respondent of such finding in a notice of proposed determination in accordance with § 3.420 of this subpart.
(b) Resolution when no violation is found. If, after an investigation pursuant to § 3.306 of this subpart or a compliance review pursuant to § 3.308 of this subpart, the Secretary determines that further action is not warranted, the Secretary will so inform the respondent and, if the matter arose from a complaint, the complainant, in writing.
(c) Uses and disclosures of information obtained. (1) Identifiable patient safety work product obtained by the Secretary in connection with an investigation or compliance review under this subpart will not be disclosed by the Secretary, except in accordance with § 3.206(d) of this subpart, or if otherwise permitted by this part or the Patient Safety Act.
(2) Except as provided for in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, information, including testimony and other evidence, obtained by the Secretary in connection with an investigation or compliance review under this subpart may be used by HHS in any of its activities and may be used or offered into evidence in any administrative or judicial proceeding.
§ 3.314 - Investigational subpoenas and inquiries.
(a) The Secretary may issue subpoenas in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 405(d) and (e), and 1320a-7a(j), to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any other evidence including patient safety work product during an investigation or compliance review pursuant to this part.
(1) A subpoena issued under this paragraph must -
(i) State the name of the person (including the entity, if applicable) to whom the subpoena is addressed;
(ii) State the statutory authority for the subpoena;
(iii) Indicate the date, time, and place that the testimony will take place;
(iv) Include a reasonably specific description of any documents or items required to be produced; and
(v) If the subpoena is addressed to an entity, describe with reasonable particularity the subject matter on which testimony is required. In that event, the entity must designate one or more natural persons who will testify on its behalf, and must state as to each such person that person's name and address and the matters on which he or she will testify. The designated person must testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the entity.
(2) A subpoena under this section must be served by -
(i) Delivering a copy to the natural person named in the subpoena or to the entity named in the subpoena at its last principal place of business; or
(ii) Registered or certified mail addressed to the natural person at his or her last known dwelling place or to the entity at its last known principal place of business.
(3) A verified return by the natural person serving the subpoena setting forth the manner of service or, in the case of service by registered or certified mail, the signed return post office receipt, constitutes proof of service.
(4) Witnesses are entitled to the same fees and mileage as witnesses in the district courts of the United States (28 U.S.C. 1821 and 1825). Fees need not be paid at the time the subpoena is served.
(5) A subpoena under this section is enforceable through the district court of the United States for the district where the subpoenaed natural person resides or is found or where the entity transacts business.
(b) Investigational inquiries are non-public investigational proceedings conducted by the Secretary.
(1) Testimony at investigational inquiries will be taken under oath or affirmation.
(2) Attendance of non-witnesses is discretionary with the Secretary, except that a witness is entitled to be accompanied, represented, and advised by an attorney.
(3) Representatives of the Secretary are entitled to attend and ask questions.
(4) A witness will have the opportunity to clarify his or her answers on the record following questioning by the Secretary.
(5) Any claim of privilege must be asserted by the witness on the record.
(6) Objections must be asserted on the record. Errors of any kind that might be corrected if promptly presented will be deemed to be waived unless reasonable objection is made at the investigational inquiry. Except where the objection is on the grounds of privilege, the question will be answered on the record, subject to objection.
(7) If a witness refuses to answer any question not privileged or to produce requested documents or items, or engages in conduct likely to delay or obstruct the investigational inquiry, the Secretary may seek enforcement of the subpoena under paragraph (a)(5) of this section.
(8) The proceedings will be recorded and transcribed. The witness is entitled to a copy of the transcript, upon payment of prescribed costs, except that, for good cause, the witness may be limited to inspection of the official transcript of his or her testimony.
(9)(i) The transcript will be submitted to the witness for signature.
(A) Where the witness will be provided a copy of the transcript, the transcript will be submitted to the witness for signature. The witness may submit to the Secretary written proposed corrections to the transcript, with such corrections attached to the transcript. If the witness does not return a signed copy of the transcript or proposed corrections within 30 days (computed in the same manner as prescribed under § 3.526 of this part) of its being submitted to him or her for signature, the witness will be deemed to have agreed that the transcript is true and accurate.
(B) Where, as provided in paragraph (b)(8) of this section, the witness is limited to inspecting the transcript, the witness will have the opportunity at the time of inspection to propose corrections to the transcript, with corrections attached to the transcript. The witness will also have the opportunity to sign the transcript. If the witness does not sign the transcript or offer corrections within 30 days (computed in the same manner as prescribed under § 3.526 of this part) of receipt of notice of the opportunity to inspect the transcript, the witness will be deemed to have agreed that the transcript is true and accurate.
(ii) The Secretary's proposed corrections to the record of transcript will be attached to the transcript.
§ 3.402 - Basis for a civil money penalty.
(a) General rule. A person who discloses identifiable patient safety work product in knowing or reckless violation of the confidentiality provisions shall be subject to a civil money penalty for each act constituting such violation.
(b) Violation attributed to a principal. A principal is independently liable, in accordance with the federal common law of agency, for a civil money penalty based on the act of the principal's agent, including a workforce member, acting within the scope of the agency if such act could give rise to a civil money penalty in accordance with § 3.402(a) of this subpart.
§ 3.404 - Amount of a civil money penalty.
(a) The amount of a civil money penalty will be determined in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section and § 3.408.
(b) The Secretary may impose a civil monetary penalty in the amount of not more than $11,000. This amount has been updated and will be updated annually, in accordance with the Federal Civil Monetary penalty Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-140), as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (section 701 of Pub. L. 114-74). The amount, as updated, is published at 45 CFR part 102.
§ 3.408 - Factors considered in determining the amount of a civil money penalty.
In determining the amount of any civil money penalty, the Secretary may consider as aggravating or mitigating factors, as appropriate, any of the following:
(a) The nature of the violation.
(b) The circumstances, including the consequences, of the violation, including:
(1) The time period during which the violation(s) occurred; and
(2) Whether the violation caused physical or financial harm or reputational damage;
(c) The degree of culpability of the respondent, including:
(1) Whether the violation was intentional; and
(2) Whether the violation was beyond the direct control of the respondent.
(d) Any history of prior compliance with the Patient Safety Act, including violations, by the respondent, including:
(1) Whether the current violation is the same or similar to prior violation(s);
(2) Whether and to what extent the respondent has attempted to correct previous violations;
(3) How the respondent has responded to technical assistance from the Secretary provided in the context of a compliance effort; and
(4) How the respondent has responded to prior complaints.
(e) The financial condition of the respondent, including:
(1) Whether the respondent had financial difficulties that affected its ability to comply;
(2) Whether the imposition of a civil money penalty would jeopardize the ability of the respondent to continue to provide health care or patient safety activities; and
(3) The size of the respondent.
(f) Such other matters as justice may require.
§ 3.414 - Limitations.
No action under this subpart may be entertained unless commenced by the Secretary, in accordance with § 3.420 of this subpart, within 6 years from the date of the occurrence of the violation.
§ 3.416 - Authority to settle.
Nothing in this subpart limits the authority of the Secretary to settle any issue or case or to compromise any penalty.
§ 3.418 - Exclusivity of penalty.
(a) Except as otherwise provided by paragraph (b) of this section, a penalty imposed under this part is in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law.
(b) Civil money penalties shall not be imposed both under this part and under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (45 CFR parts 160 and 164).
§ 3.420 - Notice of proposed determination.
(a) If a penalty is proposed in accordance with this part, the Secretary must deliver, or send by certified mail with return receipt requested, to the respondent, written notice of the Secretary's intent to impose a penalty. This notice of proposed determination must include:
(1) Reference to the statutory basis for the penalty;
(2) A description of the findings of fact regarding the violations with respect to which the penalty is proposed;
(3) The reason(s) why the violation(s) subject(s) the respondent to a penalty;
(4) The amount of the proposed penalty;
(5) Any factors described in § 3.408 of this subpart that were considered in determining the amount of the proposed penalty; and
(6) Instructions for responding to the notice, including a statement of the respondent's right to a hearing, a statement that failure to request a hearing within 60 days permits the imposition of the proposed penalty without the right to a hearing under § 3.504 of this subpart or a right of appeal under § 3.548 of this subpart, and the address to which the hearing request must be sent.
(b) The respondent may request a hearing before an ALJ on the proposed penalty by filing a request in accordance with § 3.504 of this subpart.
§ 3.422 - Failure to request a hearing.
If the respondent does not request a hearing within the time prescribed by § 3.504 of this subpart and the matter is not settled pursuant to § 3.416 of this subpart, the Secretary may impose the proposed penalty or any lesser penalty permitted by sections 921 through 926 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 299b-21 through 299b-26. The Secretary will notify the respondent by certified mail, return receipt requested, of any penalty that has been imposed and of the means by which the respondent may satisfy the penalty, and the penalty is final on receipt of the notice. The respondent has no right to appeal a penalty under § 3.548 of this subpart with respect to which the respondent has not timely requested a hearing.
§ 3.424 - Collection of penalty.
(a) Once a determination of the Secretary to impose a penalty has become final, the penalty will be collected by the Secretary, subject to the first sentence of 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7a(f).
(b) The penalty may be recovered in a civil action brought in the United States district court for the district where the respondent resides, is found, or is located.
(c) The amount of a penalty, when finally determined, or the amount agreed upon in compromise, may be deducted from any sum then or later owing by the United States, or by a State agency, to the respondent.
(d) Matters that were raised or that could have been raised in a hearing before an ALJ, or in an appeal under 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7a(e), may not be raised as a defense in a civil action by the United States to collect a penalty under this part.
§ 3.426 - Notification of the public and other agencies.
Whenever a proposed penalty becomes final, the Secretary will notify, in such manner as the Secretary deems appropriate, the public and the following organizations and entities thereof and the reason it was imposed: The appropriate State or local medical or professional organization, the appropriate State agency or agencies administering or supervising the administration of State health care programs (as defined in 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7(h)), the appropriate utilization and quality control peer review organization, and the appropriate State or local licensing agency or organization (including the agency specified in 42 U.S.C. 1395aa(a), 1396a(a)(33)).
§ 3.504 - Hearings before an ALJ.
(a) A respondent may request a hearing before an ALJ. The parties to the hearing proceeding consist of -
(1) The respondent; and
(2) The officer(s) or employee(s) of HHS to whom the enforcement authority involved has been delegated.
(b) The request for a hearing must be made in writing signed by the respondent or by the respondent's attorney and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address specified in the notice of proposed determination. The request for a hearing must be mailed within 60 days after notice of the proposed determination is received by the respondent. For purposes of this section, the respondent's date of receipt of the notice of proposed determination is presumed to be 5 days after the date of the notice unless the respondent makes a reasonable showing to the contrary to the ALJ.
(c) The request for a hearing must clearly and directly admit, deny, or explain each of the findings of fact contained in the notice of proposed determination with regard to which the respondent has any knowledge. If the respondent has no knowledge of a particular finding of fact and so states, the finding shall be deemed denied. The request for a hearing must also state the circumstances or arguments that the respondent alleges constitute the grounds for any defense and the factual and legal basis for opposing the penalty.
(d) The ALJ must dismiss a hearing request where -
(1) On motion of the Secretary, the ALJ determines that the respondent's hearing request is not timely filed as required by paragraph (b) or does not meet the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section;
(2) The respondent withdraws the request for a hearing;
(3) The respondent abandons the request for a hearing; or
(4) The respondent's hearing request fails to raise any issue that may properly be addressed in a hearing.
§ 3.506 - Rights of the parties.
(a) Except as otherwise limited by this subpart, each party may -
(1) Be accompanied, represented, and advised by an attorney;
(2) Participate in any conference held by the ALJ;
(3) Conduct discovery of documents as permitted by this subpart;
(4) Agree to stipulations of fact or law that will be made part of the record;
(5) Present evidence relevant to the issues at the hearing;
(6) Present and cross-examine witnesses;
(7) Present oral arguments at the hearing as permitted by the ALJ; and
(8) Submit written briefs and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law after the hearing.
(b) A party may appear in person or by a representative. Natural persons who appear as an attorney or other representative must conform to the standards of conduct and ethics required of practitioners before the courts of the United States.
(c) Fees for any services performed on behalf of a party by an attorney are not subject to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 406, which authorizes the Secretary to specify or limit their fees.
§ 3.508 - Authority of the ALJ.
(a) The ALJ must conduct a fair and impartial hearing, avoid delay, maintain order, and ensure that a record of the proceeding is made.
(b) The ALJ may -
(1) Set and change the date, time and place of the hearing upon reasonable notice to the parties;
(2) Continue or recess the hearing in whole or in part for a reasonable period of time;
(3) Hold conferences to identify or simplify the issues, or to consider other matters that may aid in the expeditious disposition of the proceeding;
(4) Administer oaths and affirmations;
(5) Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses at hearings and the production of documents at or in relation to hearings;
(6) Rule on motions and other procedural matters;
(7) Regulate the scope and timing of documentary discovery as permitted by this subpart;
(8) Regulate the course of the hearing and the conduct of representatives, parties, and witnesses;
(9) Examine witnesses;
(10) Receive, rule on, exclude, or limit evidence;
(11) Upon motion of a party, take official notice of facts;
(12) Conduct any conference, argument or hearing in person or, upon agreement of the parties, by telephone; and
(13) Upon motion of a party, decide cases, in whole or in part, by summary judgment where there is no disputed issue of material fact. A summary judgment decision constitutes a hearing on the record for the purposes of this subpart.
(c) The ALJ -
(1) May not find invalid or refuse to follow Federal statutes, regulations, or Secretarial delegations of authority and must give deference to published guidance to the extent not inconsistent with statute or regulation;
(2) May not enter an order in the nature of a directed verdict;
(3) May not compel settlement negotiations; or
(4) May not enjoin any act of the Secretary.
§ 3.510 - Ex parte contacts.
No party or person (except employees of the ALJ's office) may communicate in any way with the ALJ on any matter at issue in a case, unless on notice and opportunity for both parties to participate. This provision does not prohibit a party or person from inquiring about the status of a case or asking routine questions concerning administrative functions or procedures.
§ 3.512 - Prehearing conferences.
(a) The ALJ must schedule at least one prehearing conference, and may schedule additional prehearing conferences as appropriate, upon reasonable notice, which may not be less than 14 business days, to the parties.
(b) The ALJ may use prehearing conferences to discuss the following -
(1) Simplification of the issues;
(2) The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings, including the need for a more definite statement;
(3) Stipulations and admissions of fact or as to the contents and authenticity of documents;
(4) Whether the parties can agree to submission of the case on a stipulated record;
(5) Whether a party chooses to waive appearance at an oral hearing and to submit only documentary evidence (subject to the objection of the other party) and written argument;
(6) Limitation of the number of witnesses;
(7) Scheduling dates for the exchange of witness lists and of proposed exhibits;
(8) Discovery of documents as permitted by this subpart;
(9) The time and place for the hearing;
(10) The potential for the settlement of the case by the parties; and
(11) Other matters as may tend to encourage the fair, just and expeditious disposition of the proceedings, including the protection of confidentiality of identifiable patient safety work product that may be submitted into evidence or otherwise used in the proceeding, if appropriate.
(c) The ALJ must issue an order containing the matters agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the ALJ at a prehearing conference.
§ 3.514 - Authority to settle.
The Secretary has exclusive authority to settle any issue or case without the consent of the ALJ.
§ 3.516 - Discovery.
(a) A party may make a request to another party for production of documents for inspection and copying that are relevant and material to the issues before the ALJ.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the term “documents” includes information, reports, answers, records, accounts, papers and other data and documentary evidence. Nothing contained in this section may be interpreted to require the creation of a document, except that requested data stored in an electronic data storage system must be produced in a form accessible to the requesting party.
(c) Requests for documents, requests for admissions, written interrogatories, depositions and any forms of discovery, other than those permitted under paragraph (a) of this section, are not authorized.
(d) This section may not be construed to require the disclosure of interview reports or statements obtained by any party, or on behalf of any party, of persons who will not be called as witnesses by that party, or analyses and summaries prepared in conjunction with the investigation or litigation of the case, or any otherwise privileged documents.
(e)(1) When a request for production of documents has been received, within 30 days the party receiving that request must either fully respond to the request, or state that the request is being objected to and the reasons for that objection. If objection is made to part of an item or category, the part must be specified. Upon receiving any objections, the party seeking production may then, within 30 days or any other time frame set by the ALJ, file a motion for an order compelling discovery. The party receiving a request for production may also file a motion for protective order any time before the date the production is due.
(2) The ALJ may grant a motion for protective order or deny a motion for an order compelling discovery if the ALJ finds that the discovery sought -
(i) Is irrelevant;
(ii) Is unduly costly or burdensome;
(iii) Will unduly delay the proceeding; or
(iv) Seeks privileged information.
(3) The ALJ may extend any of the time frames set forth in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.
(4) The burden of showing that discovery should be allowed is on the party seeking discovery.
§ 3.518 - Exchange of witness lists, witness statements, and exhibits.
(a) The parties must exchange witness lists, copies of prior written statements of proposed witnesses, and copies of proposed hearing exhibits, including copies of any written statements that the party intends to offer in lieu of live testimony in accordance with § 3.538, not more than 60, and not less than 15, days before the scheduled hearing.
(b)(1) If, at any time, a party objects to the proposed admission of evidence not exchanged in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the ALJ must determine whether the failure to comply with paragraph (a) of this section should result in the exclusion of that evidence.
(2) Unless the ALJ finds that extraordinary circumstances justified the failure timely to exchange the information listed under paragraph (a) of this section, the ALJ must exclude from the party's case-in-chief -
(i) The testimony of any witness whose name does not appear on the witness list; and
(ii) Any exhibit not provided to the opposing party as specified in paragraph (a) of this section.
(3) If the ALJ finds that extraordinary circumstances existed, the ALJ must then determine whether the admission of that evidence would cause substantial prejudice to the objecting party.
(i) If the ALJ finds that there is no substantial prejudice, the evidence may be admitted.
(ii) If the ALJ finds that there is substantial prejudice, the ALJ may exclude the evidence, or, if he or she does not exclude the evidence, must postpone the hearing for such time as is necessary for the objecting party to prepare and respond to the evidence, unless the objecting party waives postponement.
(c) Unless the other party objects within a reasonable period of time before the hearing, documents exchanged in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section will be deemed to be authentic for the purpose of admissibility at the hearing.
§ 3.520 - Subpoenas for attendance at hearing.
(a) A party wishing to procure the appearance and testimony of any person at the hearing may make a motion requesting the ALJ to issue a subpoena if the appearance and testimony are reasonably necessary for the presentation of a party's case.
(b) A subpoena requiring the attendance of a person in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section may also require the person (whether or not the person is a party) to produce relevant and material evidence at or before the hearing.
(c) When a subpoena is served by a respondent on a particular employee or official or particular office of HHS, the Secretary may comply by designating any knowledgeable HHS representative to appear and testify.
(d) A party seeking a subpoena must file a written motion not less than 30 days before the date fixed for the hearing, unless otherwise allowed by the ALJ for good cause shown. That motion must -
(1) Specify any evidence to be produced;
(2) Designate the witnesses; and
(3) Describe the address and location with sufficient particularity to permit those witnesses to be found.
(e) The subpoena must specify the time and place at which the witness is to appear and any evidence the witness is to produce.
(f) Within 15 days after the written motion requesting issuance of a subpoena is served, any party may file an opposition or other response.
(g) If the motion requesting issuance of a subpoena is granted, the party seeking the subpoena must serve it by delivery to the person named, or by certified mail addressed to that person at the person's last dwelling place or principal place of business.
(h) The person to whom the subpoena is directed may file with the ALJ a motion to quash the subpoena within 10 days after service.
(i) The exclusive remedy for contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena duly served upon, any person is specified in 42 U.S.C. 405(e).
§ 3.522 - Fees.
The party requesting a subpoena must pay the cost of the fees and mileage of any witness subpoenaed in the amounts that would be payable to a witness in a proceeding in United States District Court. A check for witness fees and mileage must accompany the subpoena when served, except that, when a subpoena is issued on behalf of the Secretary, a check for witness fees and mileage need not accompany the subpoena.
§ 3.524 - Form, filing, and service of papers.
(a) Forms. (1) Unless the ALJ directs the parties to do otherwise, documents filed with the ALJ must include an original and two copies.
(2) Every pleading and paper filed in the proceeding must contain a caption setting forth the title of the action, the case number, and a designation of the paper, such as motion to quash subpoena.
(3) Every pleading and paper must be signed by and must contain the address and telephone number of the party or the person on whose behalf the paper was filed, or his or her representative.
(4) Papers are considered filed when they are mailed.
(b) Service. A party filing a document with the ALJ or the Board must, at the time of filing, serve a copy of the document on the other party. Service upon any party of any document must be made by delivering a copy, or placing a copy of the document in the United States mail, postage prepaid and addressed, or with a private delivery service, to the party's last known address. When a party is represented by an attorney, service must be made upon the attorney in lieu of the party.
(c) Proof of service. A certificate of the natural person serving the document by personal delivery or by mail, setting forth the manner of service, constitutes proof of service.
§ 3.526 - Computation of time.
(a) In computing any period of time under this subpart or in an order issued thereunder, the time begins with the day following the act, event or default, and includes the last day of the period unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday observed by the Federal Government, in which event it includes the next business day.
(b) When the period of time allowed is less than 7 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays observed by the Federal Government must be excluded from the computation.
(c) Where a document has been served or issued by placing it in the mail, an additional 5 days must be added to the time permitted for any response. This paragraph does not apply to requests for hearing under § 3.504.
§ 3.528 - Motions.
(a) An application to the ALJ for an order or ruling must be by motion. Motions must state the relief sought, the authority relied upon and the facts alleged, and must be filed with the ALJ and served on all other parties.
(b) Except for motions made during a prehearing conference or at the hearing, all motions must be in writing. The ALJ may require that oral motions be reduced to writing.
(c) Within 10 days after a written motion is served, or such other time as may be fixed by the ALJ, any party may file a response to the motion.
(d) The ALJ may not grant a written motion before the time for filing responses has expired, except upon consent of the parties or following a hearing on the motion, but may overrule or deny the motion without awaiting a response.
(e) The ALJ must make a reasonable effort to dispose of all outstanding motions before the beginning of the hearing.
§ 3.530 - Sanctions.
The ALJ may sanction a person, including any party or attorney, for failing to comply with an order or procedure, for failing to defend an action or for other misconduct that interferes with the speedy, orderly or fair conduct of the hearing. The sanctions must reasonably relate to the severity and nature of the failure or misconduct. The sanctions may include -
(a) In the case of refusal to provide or permit discovery under the terms of this part, drawing negative factual inferences or treating the refusal as an admission by deeming the matter, or certain facts, to be established;
(b) Prohibiting a party from introducing certain evidence or otherwise supporting a particular claim or defense;
(c) Striking pleadings, in whole or in part;
(d) Staying the proceedings;
(e) Dismissal of the action;
(f) Entering a decision by default;
(g) Ordering the party or attorney to pay the attorney's fees and other costs caused by the failure or misconduct; and
(h) Refusing to consider any motion or other action that is not filed in a timely manner.
§ 3.532 - Collateral estoppel.
When a final determination that the respondent violated a confidentiality provision has been rendered in any proceeding in which the respondent was a party and had an opportunity to be heard, the respondent is bound by that determination in any proceeding under this part.
§ 3.534 - The hearing.
(a) The ALJ must conduct a hearing on the record in order to determine whether the respondent should be found liable under this part.
(b)(1) The respondent has the burden of going forward and the burden of persuasion with respect to any challenge to the amount of a proposed penalty pursuant to §§ 3.404 and 3.408, including any factors raised as mitigating factors.
(2) The Secretary has the burden of going forward and the burden of persuasion with respect to all other issues, including issues of liability and the existence of any factors considered as aggravating factors in determining the amount of the proposed penalty.
(3) The burden of persuasion will be judged by a preponderance of the evidence.
(c) The hearing must be open to the public unless otherwise ordered by the ALJ for good cause shown, which may be that identifiable patient safety work product has been introduced into evidence or is expected to be introduced into evidence.
(d)(1) Subject to the 15-day rule under § 3.518(a) and the admissibility of evidence under § 3.540, either party may introduce, during its case in chief, items or information that arose or became known after the date of the issuance of the notice of proposed determination or the request for hearing, as applicable. Such items and information may not be admitted into evidence, if introduced -
(i) By the Secretary, unless they are material and relevant to the acts or omissions with respect to which the penalty is proposed in the notice of proposed determination pursuant to § 3.420 of this part, including circumstances that may increase penalties; or
(ii) By the respondent, unless they are material and relevant to an admission, denial or explanation of a finding of fact in the notice of proposed determination under § 3.420 of this part, or to a specific circumstance or argument expressly stated in the request for hearing under § 3.504, including circumstances that may reduce penalties.
(2) After both parties have presented their cases, evidence may be admitted in rebuttal even if not previously exchanged in accordance with § 3.518.
§ 3.538 - Witnesses.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, testimony at the hearing must be given orally by witnesses under oath or affirmation.
(b) At the discretion of the ALJ, testimony of witnesses other than the testimony of expert witnesses may be admitted in the form of a written statement. The ALJ may, at his or her discretion, admit prior sworn testimony of experts that has been subject to adverse examination, such as a deposition or trial testimony. Any such written statement must be provided to the other party, along with the last known address of the witness, in a manner that allows sufficient time for the other party to subpoena the witness for cross-examination at the hearing. Prior written statements of witnesses proposed to testify at the hearing must be exchanged as provided in § 3.518.
(c) The ALJ must exercise reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to:
(1) Make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth;
(2) Avoid repetition or needless consumption of time; and
(3) Protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.
(d) The ALJ must permit the parties to conduct cross-examination of witnesses as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.
(e) The ALJ may order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses, except that the ALJ may not order to be excluded -
(1) A party who is a natural person;
(2) In the case of a party that is not a natural person, the officer or employee of the party appearing for the entity pro se or designated as the party's representative; or
(3) A natural person whose presence is shown by a party to be essential to the presentation of its case, including a person engaged in assisting the attorney for the Secretary.
§ 3.540 - Evidence.
(a) The ALJ must determine the admissibility of evidence.
(b) Except as provided in this subpart, the ALJ is not bound by the Federal Rules of Evidence. However, the ALJ may apply the Federal Rules of Evidence where appropriate, for example, to exclude unreliable evidence.
(c) The ALJ must exclude irrelevant or immaterial evidence.
(d) Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or by considerations of undue delay or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
(e) Although relevant, evidence must be excluded if it is privileged under Federal law.
(f) Evidence concerning offers of compromise or settlement is inadmissible to the extent provided in Rule 408 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
(g) Evidence of crimes, wrongs, or acts other than those at issue in the instant case is admissible in order to show motive, opportunity, intent, knowledge, preparation, identity, lack of mistake, or existence of a scheme. This evidence is admissible regardless of whether the crimes, wrongs, or acts occurred during the statute of limitations period applicable to the acts or omissions that constitute the basis for liability in the case and regardless of whether they were referenced in the Secretary's notice of proposed determination under § 3.420.
(h) The ALJ must permit the parties to introduce rebuttal witnesses and evidence.
(i) All documents and other evidence offered or taken for the record must be open to examination by both parties, unless otherwise ordered by the ALJ for good cause shown.
§ 3.542 - The record.
(a) The hearing must be recorded and transcribed. Transcripts may be obtained following the hearing from the ALJ. A party that requests a transcript of hearing proceedings must pay the cost of preparing the transcript unless, for good cause shown by the party, the payment is waived by the ALJ or the Board, as appropriate.
(b) The transcript of the testimony, exhibits, and other evidence admitted at the hearing, and all papers and requests filed in the proceeding constitute the record for decision by the ALJ and the Secretary.
(c) The record may be inspected and copied (upon payment of a reasonable fee) by any person, unless otherwise ordered by the ALJ for good cause shown, which may include the presence in the record of identifiable patient safety work product.
(d) For good cause, which may include the presence in the record of identifiable patient safety work product, the ALJ may order appropriate redactions made to the record.
§ 3.544 - Post hearing briefs.
The ALJ may require the parties to file post-hearing briefs. In any event, any party may file a post-hearing brief. The ALJ must fix the time for filing the briefs. The time for filing may not exceed 60 days from the date the parties receive the transcript of the hearing or, if applicable, the stipulated record. The briefs may be accompanied by proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The ALJ may permit the parties to file reply briefs.
§ 3.546 - ALJ's decision.
(a) The ALJ must issue a decision, based only on the record, which must contain findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(b) The ALJ may affirm, increase, or reduce the penalties imposed by the Secretary.
(c) The ALJ must issue the decision to both parties within 60 days after the time for submission of post-hearing briefs and reply briefs, if permitted, has expired. If the ALJ fails to meet the deadline contained in this paragraph, he or she must notify the parties of the reason for the delay and set a new deadline.
(d) Unless the decision of the ALJ is timely appealed as provided for in § 3.548, the decision of the ALJ will be final and binding on the parties 60 days from the date of service of the ALJ's decision.
§ 3.548 - Appeal of the ALJ's decision.
(a) Any party may appeal the decision of the ALJ to the Board by filing a notice of appeal with the Board within 30 days of the date of service of the ALJ decision. The Board may extend the initial 30 day period for a period of time not to exceed 30 days if a party files with the Board a request for an extension within the initial 30 day period and shows good cause.
(b) If a party files a timely notice of appeal with the Board, the ALJ must forward the record of the proceeding to the Board.
(c) A notice of appeal must be accompanied by a written brief specifying exceptions to the initial decision and reasons supporting the exceptions. Any party may file a brief in opposition to the exceptions, which may raise any relevant issue not addressed in the exceptions, within 30 days of receiving the notice of appeal and the accompanying brief. The Board may permit the parties to file reply briefs.
(d) There is no right to appear personally before the Board or to appeal to the Board any interlocutory ruling by the ALJ.
(e) The Board may not consider any issue not raised in the parties' briefs, nor any issue in the briefs that could have been raised before the ALJ but was not.
(f) If any party demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Board that additional evidence not presented at such hearing is relevant and material and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to adduce such evidence at the hearing, the Board may remand the matter to the ALJ for consideration of such additional evidence.
(g) The Board may decline to review the case, or may affirm, increase, reduce, reverse or remand any penalty determined by the ALJ.
(h) The standard of review on a disputed issue of fact is whether the initial decision of the ALJ is supported by substantial evidence on the whole record. The standard of review on a disputed issue of law is whether the decision is erroneous.
(i) Within 60 days after the time for submission of briefs and reply briefs, if permitted, has expired, the Board must serve on each party to the appeal a copy of the Board's decision and a statement describing the right of any respondent who is penalized to seek judicial review.
(j)(1) The Board's decision under paragraph (i) of this section, including a decision to decline review of the initial decision, becomes the final decision of the Secretary 60 days after the date of service of the Board's decision, except with respect to a decision to remand to the ALJ or if reconsideration is requested under this paragraph.
(2) The Board will reconsider its decision only if it determines that the decision contains a clear error of fact or error of law. New evidence will not be a basis for reconsideration unless the party demonstrates that the evidence is newly discovered and was not previously available.
(3) A party may file a motion for reconsideration with the Board before the date the decision becomes final under paragraph (j)(1) of this section. A motion for reconsideration must be accompanied by a written brief specifying any alleged error of fact or law and, if the party is relying on additional evidence, explaining why the evidence was not previously available. Any party may file a brief in opposition within 15 days of receiving the motion for reconsideration and the accompanying brief unless this time limit is extended by the Board for good cause shown. Reply briefs are not permitted.
(4) The Board must rule on the motion for reconsideration not later than 30 days from the date the opposition brief is due. If the Board denies the motion, the decision issued under paragraph (i) of this section becomes the final decision of the Secretary on the date of service of the ruling. If the Board grants the motion, the Board will issue a reconsidered decision, after such procedures as the Board determines necessary to address the effect of any error. The Board's decision on reconsideration becomes the final decision of the Secretary on the date of service of the decision, except with respect to a decision to remand to the ALJ.
(5) If service of a ruling or decision issued under this section is by mail, the date of service will be deemed to be 5 days from the date of mailing.
(k)(1) A respondent's petition for judicial review must be filed within 60 days of the date on which the decision of the Board becomes the final decision of the Secretary under paragraph (j) of this section.
(2) In compliance with 28 U.S.C. 2112(a), a copy of any petition for judicial review filed in any U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the final decision of the Secretary must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the General Counsel of HHS. The petition copy must be a copy showing that it has been time-stamped by the clerk of the court when the original was filed with the court.
(3) If the General Counsel of HHS received two or more petitions within 10 days after the final decision of the Secretary, the General Counsel will notify the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation of any petitions that were received within the 10 day period.
§ 3.550 - Stay of the Secretary's decision.
(a) Pending judicial review, the respondent may file a request for stay of the effective date of any penalty with the ALJ. The request must be accompanied by a copy of the notice of appeal filed with the Federal court. The filing of the request automatically stays the effective date of the penalty until such time as the ALJ rules upon the request.
(b) The ALJ may not grant a respondent's request for stay of any penalty unless the respondent posts a bond or provides other adequate security.
(c) The ALJ must rule upon a respondent's request for stay within 10 days of receipt.
§ 3.552 - Harmless error.
No error in either the admission or the exclusion of evidence, and no error or defect in any ruling or order or in any act done or omitted by the ALJ or by any of the parties is ground for vacating, modifying or otherwise disturbing an otherwise appropriate ruling or order or act, unless refusal to take such action appears to the ALJ or the Board inconsistent with substantial justice. The ALJ and the Board at every stage of the proceeding must disregard any error or defect in the proceeding that does not affect the substantial rights of the parties.