HHS AHRQ Freedom of Information Annual Report - FY 2005

Freedom of Information Act Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2005.

I.

Agency: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Report Prepared By: Nancy Comfort

Title: Freedom of Information Officer

Address: Room 2222, 540 Gaither Road Rockville, MD 20850

Phone number: (301) 427-1866

Electronic Address for Report on the World Wide Web: http://www.ahrq.gov/foia/foiaindx.html

Address for Paper Copies of Report:

Nancy Comfort
Freedom of Information Officer
Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road, Room 2222
Rockville, MD 20850


 

II. How To Make a FOIA Request: 

Go to http://www.hhs.gov/about/infoguid.html#foia. 

A. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that 
process FOIA requests: 

N/A

B.  Brief description of agency's response time range(s): 

 Response time ranges from 1 day to 70. 

C.  Brief description of why some requests are not granted:

Requests are not granted if the information requested falls within one of the statute's enumerated 
exemptions, the information requested falls under the jurisdiction of another HHS component, or if 
no documents exist which are responsive to the request.

III. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in Report:

A.  Agency-specific acronyms or other terms:

AHRQ—Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
HHS—U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
OPDIVs—Operating Divisions of HHS                          
OS—Office of the Secretary, HHS        
ACF—Administration for Children and Families

B.  Basic terms (from FOIA UPDATE, Summer 1997): 
                 
FOIA/PA request—Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request.  A FOIA request is generally a 
request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular 
topic of interest.  A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such 
requests are also treated as FOIA requests.  (All requests for access to records, regardless 
of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report).

Initial Request—a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of 
Information Act.

Appeal—a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level 
a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, 
or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.
 
Processed Request or Appeal—a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action 
on the request or appeal in all respects.

Multi-track processing—a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review 
are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in 
one or more other tracks.  Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis.  
A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

Expedited processing—an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a 
requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants 
prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.

Simple request—a FOIA  request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its 
fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of the records requested.

Complex request—a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower 
track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.

Grant—an agency decision to disclose all records in full response to a FOIA request.

Partial grant—an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, 
deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA exemptions; or 
a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or 
in part.

Denial—an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a 
FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the 
agency to be exempt under one or more of FOIA exemptions or for some procedural reason 
(such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).

Time limits—the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a 
FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a perfected FOIA request).

Perfected  request—a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, 
which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency component in possession of the 
records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
 
Exemption 3 statute—a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type 
of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).

Median number—the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median 
number is 7.

Average number—the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity 
of numbers in the group.  For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.  

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes:

A.  List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by the agency during report year:

41 U.S.C. §253b(m) (prohibits the release of cost proposals or technical proposals not set 
forth or incorporated by reference in a contract with a federal agency).

1.  Brief description of type(s) of information withheld under each statute: 

AHRQ withheld copies of technical proposals.

2.  Has a court upheld the use of each statute?  If so, cite example: 

No.

V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests (Include all requests, 3rd  or 1st party):

A.  Numbers of initial requests (line 1 + line 2—line 3 = line 4):

1.  Number of requests pending at close of preceding fiscal year: 11
2.  Number of requests received during reporting fiscal year:     89
3.  Number of requests processed during reporting fiscal year:    94
4.  Number of requests pending at close of reporting fiscal year:  6 
    (This number should match Line VII.B.1.)

B.  Disposition of Initial Requests:

1.  Number granted in full             78
2.  Number granted in part              6
3.  Number of full denials              0

a.  Number of times each FOIA exemption was used:
Exemption 1    0
Exemption 2    0
Exemption 3    5
Exemption 4    7
Exemption 5    1
Exemption 6    1
Exemption 7    0
Exemption 7(A)
Exemption 7(B)
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7(D)
Exemption 7(E)
Exemption 7(F)
Exemption 8    0000
Exemption 9    0000

4.  Other reasons for non-disclosure (total)
a.  no records                                        5
b.  referrals                                         0
c.  request withdrawn                                 4
d.  fee-related reason                                1
e.  records not reasonably described                  0
f.  not a proper FOIA request for some other reason   0
g.  not an agency record                              0
h.  duplicate request                                 0
i.  other (specify)                                   0

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests (include all access requests whether 
first or third party):

A.  Numbers of Appeals:

1.  Number of appeals received during the fiscal year  0
2.  Number of appeals processed during the fiscal year 0

B.  Disposition of Appeals: N/A

1.  Number completely upheld
2.  Number partially reversed
3.  Number completely reversed

a.  Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption used once per 
appeal)

Exemption 1
Exemption 2
Exemption 3
Exemption 4
Exemption 5
Exemption 6
Exemption 7
Exemption 7(A)
Exemption 7(B)
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7(D)
Exemption 7(E)
Exemption 7(F)
Exemption 8 0
Exemption 9 0

4.  Other reasons for non-disclosure (total)
a.  no records
b.  referrals
c.  request withdrawn
d.  fee-related reason
e.  records not reasonably described
f.  not a proper FOIA request for some other reason
g.  not an agency record
h.  duplicate request
i.  other (specify)

VII. Compliance With Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests:
 (See chart)

A.  Median Processing Time for Requests Processed During the Year. 
 (Some OPDIVs do not use multiple tracks.)

1.  Simple Requests (if multiple tracks used): AHRQ does not use multiple tracks.
a.  number of requests processed        94
b.  median number of days to process    34

2.  Complex Requests (specify for any and all tracks used):
a.  number of requests processed
b.  median number of days to process

3.  Requests Accorded Expedited Processing:
a.  number of requests processed      
b.  median number of days to process   

B.  Status of Pending Requests (if multiple tracks are being used, report for each 
track as well as totals).

1.  Number of requests pending as of the end of the fiscal year 
    covered in this report (from Line V.A.4)                               6
2.  Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date  8
    Medians vary greatly from OPDIV to OPDIV.
    
VIII. Comparisons With Previous Year(s): (Optional):

A. Comparison of numbers of requests received:  

B. Comparison of numbers of requests processed: 
 
C. Comparison of median numbers of days requests were pending as of end of fiscal year: 

D. Other statistics significant to components:   

E. Other narrative statements describing agency efforts to improve timeliness of
FOIA performance and to make records available to the public  (e.g., backlog-
reduction activities; public availability of new categories of records):  No 
comments.  

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing:

A.  Staffing levels:

1.  Number of full-time FOIA personnel           1
2.  Number of personnel with part-time or occasional  
    FOIA duties (in total work-years)             ¼
3.  Total number of personnel (in work years)    1¼

B.  Total costs (including staff and all resources):

1.  FOIA processing (including appeals)     $66,146.00
2.  Litigation-related activities (estimated)        0
3.  Total costs                             $66,146.00
4.  Comparison with previous year(s) (including percentage of change) (optional)

Fees

A.  Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests:  $721.40
B.  Percentage of total costs:  0

FOIA Regulations (including fee schedule) 

See 45 C.F.R. Part 5 or http://www.hhs.gov/foia/45cfr5.html
Current as of October 2012
Internet Citation: HHS AHRQ Freedom of Information Annual Report - FY 2005. October 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/policy/foia/foiafy05.html