HHS AHRQ Freedom of Information Annual Report - FY 2010

Freedom of Information Act Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2010.

Annual report on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and activities by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHRQ).

I. Basic Information Regarding Report

1. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to be contacted with questions about the Report.

As of February 1, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) requesters are handled by the Division of FOIA Services within the Program Support Center. You may visit that site directly at http://www.psc.gov/psc_foia/psc-freedom-of-information-act-foia-home

2. Electronic address for this report on the World Wide Web:

http://www.ahrq.gov/foia/foiaindx.html#Reports

3. Address for paper copies of this report

** Copies of the annual reports of a number of individual HHS Operating Divisions can be found by contacting the responsible component shown in Section II below, or by locating a FOIA link at the following Web sites:

Administration on Aging (AOA): http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Site_Utilities/FOIA
Administration for Children and Families (ACF): http://www.acf.hhs.gov/acf_foia.html
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): http://www.ahrq.gov/policy/foia/index.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/od/foia
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): http://www.cms.hhs.gov/foia
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/foi
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): http://www.hrsa.gov/foia
Indian Health Service (IHS): http://www.ihs.gov/AdminMngrResources/FOIA
National Institute of Health (NIH): http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/foia
Office of Inspector General (OIG): http://oig.hhs.gov/foia
Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS): http://www.psc.gov/foia.html
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: http://www.samhsa.gov/foia

II. How to Make a FOIA Request

Requests may be submitted electronically at: foiarequests@ahrq.hhs.gov.

  1. HHS and OPDIV Freedom of Information Officers/FOIA Requester Service Centers:

    Health and Human Services (HHS)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Mary E. Switzer Building, Room 2206
    330 C Street, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    Phone: 202-690-7453

    Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    901 D Street, S.W.
    7th Floor West
    Aerospace Building
    Washington, D.C. 20447
    Phone: 202-401-9215

    Administration on Aging (AOA)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    Phone: 202-357-3540

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    North Building, Room N2-20-06
    7500 Security Boulevard
    Baltimore, Maryland 21244
    Phone: 410-786-5353

    Office of Inspector General (OIG)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Cohen Building, Suite 1062
    330 Independence Ave, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    Phone: 202-619-2541

    Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Room 17-66, Parklawn Building
    5600 Fishers Lane
    Rockville, MD 20857
    Phone: 301-443-5252

    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
    Division of FOIA Services
    Program Support Center
    Department of Health and Human Services
    7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 920
    Bethesda, MD  20857

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or
    Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    1600 Clifton Road, N.E., MS D-54
    Atlanta, Georgia 30333
    Phone: 404-498-1580

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Parklawn Building, Room 6-30
    5600 Fishers Lane
    Rockville, Maryland 20857
    Phone: 301-827-6567

    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Parklawn Building, Room 14-15
    5600 Fishers Lane
    Rockville, Maryland 20857
    Phone: 301-443-3376

    Indian Health Service (IHS)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    12300 Twinbrook Parkway, Suite 450
    Twinbrook II, Metro Plaza Building
    Rockville, Maryland 20857
    Phone: 301-443-1116

    National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    Building 31, Room 5B35
    9000 Rockville Pike
    Bethesda, Maryland 20892
    Phone: 301-496-5633

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    Freedom of Information Officer
    1 Choke Cherry Road, Room 8-1042
    Rockville, Maryland 20857
    Phone: 240-276-2137

  2. Brief description of why some requests are not granted: Documents requested were protected by an exemption and release would have caused harm to the interest protected by the exemption. Information withheld may include home addresses and phone numbers, social security numbers, medical records, proprietary business records, investigatory records, that if released may interfere with open investigations, and drafts of documents.

III. Acronyms, Definitions, and Exemptions

  1. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms:

    HHS—U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    OPDIVs—Operating Divisions of HHS
    OS—Office of the Secretary, HHS
    OASPA—Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS
    AoA—Administration on Aging
    ACF—Administration for Children and Families
    AHRQ—Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
    ATSDR—Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    FDA—Food and Drug Administration
    HRSA—Health Resources and Services Administration
    IHS—Indian Health Service
    NIH—National Institutes of Health
    OIG—Office of the Inspector General
    OPHS—Office of Public Health and Science
    PHS—Public Health Service
    PRO—Professional Review Organization
    PSC—Program Support Center
    SAMHSA—Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

  2. Basic terms (from FOIA UPDATE, Summer 1997):

    1. Administrative Appeal—a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a FOIA determination made by the agency at the initial request level.
    2. 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.
    3. Backlog—the number of requests or administrative appeals that are pending at an agency at the end of the fiscal year that are beyond the statutory time period for a response.
    4. Component—for agencies that process requests on a decentralized basis, a "component" is an entity, also sometimes referred to as an Office, Division, Bureau, Center, or Directorate, within the agency that processes FOIA requests. The FOIA now requires that agencies include in their annual report data for both the agency overall and for each principal component of the agency.
    5. Consultation—the procedure whereby the agency responding to a FOIA request first forwards a record to another agency for its review because that agency has an interest in the document. Once the agency in receipt of the consultation finishes its review of the record, it responds back to the agency that forwarded it. That Agency, in turn, will then respond to the FOIA requester.
    6. Exemption 3 Statute—a federal statute that exempts information from disclosure and which the agency relies on to withhold information under subsection (b)(3) of the FOIA.
    7. FOIA Request—a FOIA request is generally a request to a federal agency for access to records concerning another person (i.e., a "third-party" request), or concerning an organization, or a particular topic of interest. FOIA requests also include requests made by requesters seeking records concerning themselves (i.e., "first-party" requests) when those requesters are not subject to the Privacy Act, such as non-U.S. citizens. Moreover, because all first-party requesters should be afforded the benefit of both the access provisions of the FOIA as well as those of the Privacy Act, FOIA requests also include any first-party requests where an agency determines that it must search beyond its Privacy Act "systems of records" or where a Privacy Act exemption applies, and the agency looks to FOIA to afford the greatest possible access. All requests which require the agency to utilize the FOIA in responding to the requester are included in this Report. Additionally, a FOIA request includes records referred to the agency for processing and direct response to the requester. It does not, however, include records for which the agency has received a consultation from another agency. (Consultations are reported separately in Section XII of this Report.)
    8. Full Grant—an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
    9. Full Denial—an agency decision not to release any records in response to a FOIA request because the records are exempt in their entireties under one or more of the FOIA exemptions, or because of a procedural reason, such as when no records could be located.
    10. Median Number—Median Number—the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
    11. 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 granted expedited processing are placed in yet another track. Requests in each track are processed on a first in/first out basis.
      1. Expedited Processing—an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester satisfies the requirements for expedited processing as set forth in the statute and in agency regulations.
      2. Simple Request—a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the low volume and/or simplicity of the records requested.
      3. Complex Request—a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the high volume and/or complexity of the records requested.
    12. Partial Grant/Partial Denial—in response to a FOIA request, an agency decision to disclose portions of the records and to withhold other portions that are exempt under the FOIA, or to otherwise deny a portion of the request for a procedural reason.
    13. Pending Request or Pending Administrative Appeal—a request or administrative appeal for which an agency has not taken final action in all respects.
    14. Perfected Request—a request for records which reasonably describes such records and is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any) and procedures to be followed.
    15. Processed Request or Processed Administrative Appeal—a request or administrative appeal for which an agency has taken final action in all respects.
    16. Range in Number of Days—the lowest and highest number of days to process requests or administrative appeals.
    17. Time Limits—the time period in the statute for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily twenty working days from receipt of a perfected FOIA request).
  3. Concise descriptions of the nine FOIA exemptions:

    1. Exemption 1: classified national defense and foreign relations information.
    2. Exemption 2: internal agency rules and practices.
    3. Exemption 3: information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law.
    4. Exemption 4: trade secrets and other confidential business information.
    5. Exemption 5: inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges.
    6. Exemption 6: information involving matters of personal privacy.
    7. Exemption 7: records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records.
      1. Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.
      2. Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication.
      3. Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
      4. Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source.
      5. Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.
      6. Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.
    8. Exemption 8: information relating to the supervision of financial institutions.
    9. Exemption 9: geological information on wells.

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes


StatuteType of Information WithheldCase CitationNumber of Times Relied upon per ComponentTotal Number of Times Relied upon by Agency
Public Health Service Act 42 U.S.C. 299c-3(c) and (d)Research data in databases 22
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

V. FOIA Requests

  1. Received, Processed, and Pending FOIA Requests:
ComponentNumber of Requests Pending as of Start of Fiscal YearNumber of Requests Received in Fiscal YearNumber of Requests Processed in Fiscal YearNumber of Requests Pending as of End of Fiscal Year
OS    
ACF    
AOA    
CMS    
OIG    
OPHS/PSC    
AHRQ1157617
CDC    
FDA    
HRSA    
IHS    
NIH    
SAMHSA    
HHS Total    
  1. (1) Disposition of all FOIA Requests—All Processed Requests:

ComponentNumber of Full GrantsNumber of Partial Grants/ Partial DenialsNumber of Full Denials Based on ExemptionsNumber of Full Denials Based on Reasons Other than ExemptionsTotal
No RecordsAll Records Referred to another Component or AgencyRequest WithdrawnFee-Related ReasonRecords not Reasonably DescribedImproper FOIA Request for Other ReasonNot Agency RecordDuplicate RequestOther "Explain in chart below"
OS             
ACF             
AOA             
CMS             
OIG             
OPHS/PSC             
AHRQ12232124401102061
CDC             
FDA             
HRSA             
IHS             
NIH             
SAMHSA             
HHS Total             

  1. (2) Disposition of FOIA Requests—Other Reasons for "Full Denials Based on Reasons Other than Exemptions" from Section V, B (1):

ComponentDescription of "Other" Reasons for Denials from Chart B (1) & Number of Times Those Reasons Were Relied uponTotal
OS  
ACF  
AOA  
CMS  
OIG  
OPHS/PSC  
AHRQ  
CDC  
FDA  
HRSA  
IHS  
NIH  
SAMHSA  
HHS Total  

  1. (3) Disposition of FOIA Requests—Number of times exemptions applied:

ComponentEx. 1Ex.2Ex.3Ex.4Ex.5Ex.6Ex. 7(A)Ex. 7(B)Ex. 7(C)Ex. 7(D)Ex. 7(E)Ex. 7(F)Ex. 8Ex. 9
OS0           00
ACF0           00
AOA0           00
CMS0           00
OIG0           00
OPHS/PSC0           00
AHRQ0022501400000000
CDC0           00
FDA0           00
HRSA0           00
IHS0           00
NIH0           00
SAMHSA0           00
HHS Total0           00

Proceed to Next Section

Current as of October 2012
Internet Citation: HHS AHRQ Freedom of Information Annual Report - FY 2010. October 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/policy/foia/foiafy10.html