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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ANNUAL REPORT -- FY 2001

I.  AGENCY:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

REPORT PREPARED BY: Rosario Cirrincione

TITLE: Director, Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts Division, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS.

ADDRESS: Room 645F, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201

PHONE NUMBER: (202) 690-7453

ELECTRONIC ADDRESS FOR THIS REPORT ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB:

http://www.hhs.gov/foia

** Copies of the annual reports of several individual HHS Operating Divisions can be found at:

Administration on Aging (AOA): http://www.aoa.gov/siteutil/foia.asp

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): http://www.ahrq.gov/news/foiaindx.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/od/foia/foi.htm

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): http://cms.hhs.gov/foia/annrpts.asp

Food and Drug Administration (FDA): http://www.fda.gov/foi/foia2.htm

Health Resources and Services Administration HRSA): http://newsroom.hrsa.gov/

Indian Health Service: http://www.ihs.gov

National Institutes of Health (NIH):  http://www.nih.gov/

Program Support Center (PSC) and Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS):

http://www.psc.gov

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: http://alt.samhsa.gov/foia/content/foia_main.html

ADDRESS FOR PAPER COPIES OF THIS REPORT:

Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Division
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building/Room 645-F
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201

II.  HOW TO MAKE A FOIA REQUEST: Please see HHS Guide to Information Resources at: http://www.hhs.gov/foia

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

HHS Freedom of Information Officer
Room 645-F, Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Telephone: (202) 690-7453

Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Freedom of Information Officer
Room 645-F, Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Telephone: (202) 690-7453

Administration on Aging (AoA)
Freedom of Information Officer
Executive Secretariat, Room 4741
330 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington D.C. 20201
Telephone: (202) 619-7586

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Freedom of Information Officer
Suite 501
2101 East Jefferson Street
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone: (301) 594-6391

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and/or
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Freedom of Information Officer
1600 Clifton Rd, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Telephone:  (404) 639-7270

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Freedom of Information Officer
7500 Security Boulevard
Room N2-20-16
Baltimore, Maryland 21244
Telephone (410) 786-5352

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Freedom of Information Officer
5600 Fishers Lane (HFI-35)
Rockville MD 20857
Telephone:  (301) 827-6500

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Freedom of Information Officer
Office of Communications, Room 14-15
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-2865

Indian Health Service (IHS)
Freedom of Information Officer
Suite 450
12300 Twinbrook Parkway
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone:  (301) 443-1116

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

Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS)
Freedom of Information Officer, Room 17-21
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone: (301) 443-5252

Program Support Center (PSC)
Freedom of Information Officer
Room 17-21
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone:  (301) 443-3921
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Freedom of Information Officer
Room 13-C-05
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857 
Telephone:  (301) 443-3814

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

operating divisions (OPDIVS) have authority to release or deny their own records, and vary greatly in terms of the size and volume of FOIA requests processed, there is no overall HHS time range.  Individual OPDIV response times can range from same day response to over a year, depending on the complexity of the request.

C.  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.

III.  DEFINITIONS OF TERMS AND ACRONYMS USED IN REPORT:

A.  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

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

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 eight.

IV.  EXEMPTION 3 STATUTES:

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

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

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

V.  INITIAL FOIA/PA ACCESS REQUESTS (Include all requests, 3rd or 1st party): See attached for additional detail.

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

1. Number of requests pending at close of preceding fiscal year: 18530 (does not include 155 requests closed retroactively by NIH for FY 2000)

2. Number of requests received during reporting fiscal year: 61586

3. Number of requests processed during reporting fiscal year: 62599

4. Number of requests pending at close of reporting fiscal year: 17517 (This number should match Line VII.B.1.)

B.  Disposition of Initial Requests:

1. Number granted in full:  48226

2. Number granted in part:  867          

3. Number of full denials:  1605

a. Number of times each FOIA exemption was used:

Exemption 1 0000

Exemption 2     47

Exemption 3     31

Exemption 4   332

Exemption 5   199

Exemption 6 1803

Exemption 7   237

Exemption 7(A)         148   

Exemption 7(B)             1 

Exemption 7 8            65

Exemption 7 (D)          21

Exemption 7 (E)            2

Exemption 7 (F)            0

Exemption 8 0000

            Exemption 9 0000

4. Other reasons for non-disclosure (total):  11901

a. no records:  3266

b. referrals: 529 

c. request withdrawn:  2881

d. fee-related reason: 3174

e. records not reasonably described:  89

f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason:  1374

g. not an agency record:  34

h. duplicate request:  184

i. other (specify):  370 (Glomar; litigation; administrative closures; materials more readily available from other sources, e.g. internet, libraries, etc.)

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 184

2.  Number of appeals processed during the fiscal year 128

B.  Disposition of Appeals:

1.  Number completely upheld  46

2.  Number partially reversed  15

3.  Number completely reversed  15

a.  Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each

       exemption used once per appeal)

Exemption 1  0

Exemption 2  0

Exemption 3  1

Exemption 4  4 

                                              Exemption 5  6

Exemption 6  8

Exemption 7  6

                      Exemption 7(A)  3

                      Exemption 7(B)  0

                      Exemption 7(C)  3 

                      Exemption 7(D)   0

                      Exemption 7(E)  0 

                      Exemption 7(F)  0 

           Exemption 8  0

                                              Exemption 9  0

            4.  Other reasons for non-disclosure (total):  52

a.  no records:  9

b.  referrals  0

c.  request withdrawn  33

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)  9 (litigation, administrative closures, material more readily available from other sources, e.g., internet, libraries, etc.

VII.  COMPLIANCE WITH TIME LIMITS/STATUS OF PENDING REQUESTS: See attached for additional detail.

A.  Median Processing Time for Requests Processed During the Year:  (Some OPDIVs do not use multiple tracks.  See attachment for more detailed statistics.)

1.  Simple Requests (if multiple tracks used):

a.  number of requests processed: 41,994 (see attached for detail).

b.  median number of days to process: See attached..

2.  Complex Requests (includes total of complex requests and single-track systems):

a.  number of requests processed: 20,529 (see attached for detail)                                                          

b.  median number of days to process: See attached.

3.  Requests Accorded Expedited Processing:

a. number of requests processed: 76

b. median number of days to process: See attached.

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): 17,517

2.  Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date:  Medians vary greatly from OPDIV to OPDIV.  See attached for additional detail. 

VIII. COMPARISONS WITH PREVIOUS YEARS(S)  (Optional):

IX.  COSTS/FOIA STAFFING: See attached for additional detail.

A.  Staffing levels:

1.  Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 169

2.  Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years):  65.407

3.  Total number of personnel (in work years):  234.407

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

1.  FOIA processing (including appeals)  $12,983,533

2.  Litigation-related activities (estimated)  $230,134

3.  Total costs $13,213,667

4.  Comparison with previous year(s) (including percentage of change) (optional):   

X.  FEES: See attached for additional detail.

A.  Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests:  $964,711

B.  Percentage of total costs: 7 %

XI.  FOIA REGULATIONS (including fee schedule):  

             The FOIA regulation implementing the 1996 amendments to the Freedom of

             Information Act has been published as a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and

             public comments have been received.  The passage of PL 105-277 requiring

              OMB to revise circular A-110 will require further revisions to the HHS FOIA  

             Regulation and public comments on those new sections.  That effort is currently

             underway.  Until such time as the revised regulation is published as a new final

             rule, however the current HHS FOIA regulation can be found at 45 CFR Part 5,

             and at: www.hhs.gov/foia/45cfr5.html.

 

APPENDIX DOCUMENTS

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes

Statute/Rule

Type of Information Withheld

Case Citation

5 U.S.C. 107(a)(2) Appendix 4

Confidential financial disclosure reports

Meyerhoff v. EPA, 958 F.2nd (9th Cir 1992)

41 U.S.C. 253 (m)

Contractor proposals not incorporated into agency contracts.

No.

42 U.S.C. 1320c-9

Information created or acquired by a peer review organization (PRO) in the exercise of its duties and functions.

No.

42 U.S.C. 1396r-8(b)(3)(D)

Information disclosed by manufacturers and wholesalers…in a form which discloses…prices charged for drugs by such manufacturer or wholesaler.

No.

42 U.S.C. 11137(b)

Adverse reports of a physicians's conduct or practice.

No.

   

V. INITIAL FOI/PA ACCESS REQUESTS

Numbers of Initial Requests

 

Number of Requests Pending as of End of Preceding Year

Number of Requests Received in Current Year

Number of Requests Processed in Current Year

Number of Requests Pending as of End of Current Year

OS            (1)

            325

        1032

          1042

          315

AoA

                0

              6

                6

              0

CMS

          3269

       35084

        35607

        2746

PSC

              34

          126

            146

            14

OASPH

            223

          390

            340

          273

  AHRQ

               3

          113

            108

               8

  CDC

             74

        1013

          1026

            61

  FDA

       13626

      22248

        22721

      13153

  HRSA

             25

          338

            330

            33

  IHS

              68

          106

            100

            74

  NIH

           832   (2)

        1024

          1111

          745

  SAMHSA

             51

          106

              62

            95

PHS Total

       14902

       25338

        25798

      14442

HHS Total

       18530

      61586

        62599

      17517

Some OS figures partially based on estimates due to software/system failure

  (2)  Does not include 155 additional "pending" requests closed retroactively for FY 2000.

V.B. Disposition of Initial Requests

 

Number of Total Grants

Number of Partial Grants

Number of Full Denials

Total of Other Reasons for Nondisclosure

OS

          268

         161

         75

        538

AoA

              4

             0

           0

            2

CMS

      28301

         229

     1375

      5702

PSC

            48

           34

           3

           61

OASPH

          177

           12

         32

        119

  AHRQ

            32

           41

           1

          34

  CDC

          359

         230

           4

        433

  FDA

      17899

           92

         62

      4668

  HRSA

          272

           35

         14

            9

  IHS

            25

             0

         17

          58

  NIH

          812

           14

         22

        263

  SAMHSA

            29

           19

           0

          14

PHS Total

      19605

         443

       152

      5598

HHS Total

      48226

         867

     1605

    11901

V.B.3. Exemptions Claimed Under the FOIA(1)

 

  (2)

  (3)

  (4)

  (5)

   (6)

(7A)

(7B)

  (7C)

(7D)

(7E)

   (7F)

OS

   0

    2

    51

   38

  122

    25

    0

  15

   0

   0

   0

AoA

   0

    0

     0

     0

      0

     0

    0

    0

   0

   0

   0

CMS

  38

  15

   49

   70

1411

     1

    0

  16

   1

   2

   0

PSC

   3

    0

   16

     3

    22

     0

    0

    0

   0

   0

   0

OASPH

   0

    1

     6

     4

    15

   15

    0

  13

  13

   0

   0

  AHRQ

   0

    0

     0

     1

      0

     0

    0

    0

   0

   0

   0

  CDC

   6

    7

   79

   48

  160

     0

    0

    0

   0

   0

   0

  FDA

   0

    2

   83

     0

    10

  104

    0

  16

   6

   0

   0

  HRSA

   0

    3

   12

     9

    11

     0

    0

    0

   0

   0

   0

  IHS

   0

    0

   13

     2

      4

     0

    0

    0

    0

   0

   0

  NIH

   0

    1

   17

   22

    31

     3

    1

    5

   1

   0

   0

  SAMHSA

   0

    0

     6

    2

    17

     0

    0

    0

   0

   0

   0

PHS Total

   6

  14

  216

  88

  248

  122

    1

  34

  20

   0

   0

HHS Total

  47

  31

  332

199

1803

  148

    1

  65

  21

   2

   0

(1.) No claims for exemption (1), (8), or (9).

V.B.4. Other Reasons for Nondisclosure (Total)

 

No Records

Referrals

Request Withdrawn

Fee-Related Reason

Records Not Reasonably Described

Not a Proper FOIA Request for Some Other Reason

Not an Agency Record

Duplicate Request

Other

OS

      95

     260

         63

      2

        2

          104

       1

       9

    2

AoA

        2

         0

           0

      0

        0

              0

       0

       0

    0

CMS

    840

       49

       550

    3124

        74

          978

     14

       4

  69

PSC

      25

       16

           6

      3

        1

              1

       0

       3

    6

OASPH

      30

       64

        22

      2

        0

              0

       0

       1

    0

  AHRQ

      19

         3

          8

      0

        1

              3

       0

       0

    0

  CDC

    191

       61

         91

      15

       2

            11

       6

       5

  51

  FDA

  1964

       63

    1969

      24

        0

          276

       0

   131

241

  HRSA

        5

          0

          1

      0

        0

              0

       2

       0

    1

  IHS

        0

         0

        55

      0

        2

              1

       0

       0

    0

  NIH

      84

       11

      116

      4

        7

              0

     10

     31

    0

  SAMHSA

      11

         2

          0

      0

        0

              0

       1

       0

    0

PHS Total

  2304

     204

  22262

    45

      12

           291

     19

   168

293

HHS Total

  3266

     529

    2881

    3174

       89

        1374

     34

   184

370

VII. Compliance With Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

A. Median Processing Time for Requests Processed During the Year

 

AHRQ

AOA

CDC

CMS

FDA

HRSA

IHS

NIH

OS

PHS

PSC

SAMHSA

1. a. Number of Simple Requests (Where multiple tracks used)

   0

0

      0

33774

  8145

    0

    0

     0

     0

      0

  

75

    0

b. Median Days  to Process

   0

0

      0

      10

      14

    0

    0

     0

      0

      0

35

    0

2. a. Number of  Complex

Requests (Where multiple tracks used

   0

0

      0

  1806

    977

    0

    0

     0

     0  

      0

50

    0

b. Median  Days to Process

   0

0

      0

    296

    332

    0

    0

     0

     0

      0

60

    0

3. a. Number of  Expedited Requests

   0

0

      0

      27

        2

    0

    0

     0

     0

    26

21

    0

b. Median Days to Process

   0

0

      0

    111

        5

    0

    0

     0

     0

      1

  4

    0

4. a. Number of Single Track Requests

108

6

1026

       0

13597

330

100

1111

1042

   250

    (1)

  0

  62

b. Median  Days to Process

  25

6

    30

       0

      30

  30

  20

  219

53

    (2)

    20

  0

342

Does not include 64 additional PHS requests referred to other organizations.

Based on sample.

VII. B. Status of Pending Requests

 

AHRQ

AOA

CDC

CMS

   FDA

HRSA

IHS

NIH

OS

PHS

PSC

SAMHSA

1. Number of Requests Pending

  8

0

61

2433

(1)

13153

33

74

745

315

273

14

95

2. Number of Median Days of Pending

Requests as of September 30, 2001

10

0

40

10

146

(2)

17

35

228

111

(3)

180

(4)

70

(5)

90

    

313

(6)

        
    

(7)

        

Simple requests only.

Multi-track median day figures unavailable.

Based on sample.

Multi-track median day figures unavailable.

Multi-track median day figures unavailable.

Complex requests.

Median day figures unavailable for complex requests.

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing, and

X.  Fees

 

                   Staffing Levels

                   Costs (Estimated)

         Fees

 

Number of Full-Time Personnel

Number Staff With Part-Time or Occasional FOIA Duties (In Total Workyears)

Total Number of Personnel (In Work-Years)

FOIA Processing

Litigation-Related Activities

Total Costs

Total Fees Collected

% of Costs

OS

     5

             0

       5

     $347,000

$118,088

     $465,088

  $16,587

  4

AoA

     0

             0.04

       0.04

           2,576

             0

           2,576

             0

  0

CMS

   70

            21

     91

    2,017,864

    12,823

    2,030,687

  266,675

13

PSC

     0

             1

       1

         55,215

             0

         55,215

         662

  1

OASPH

     3

             0.3

       3.3

        190,154

    15,515

       205,669

      2,920

  1

  AHRQ

     1

             0.25

       1.25

         42,393

             0

         42,393

         203

  0

  CDC

     4

             0

       4

       258,688

              0

       258,688

    53,794

21

  FDA

   71

           18.697

    89.697

    8,165,088

    59,488

    8,224,576

  583,624

  7

  HRSA

     2

             0.5

       2.5

       157,544

             0

       157,544

      1,604

  1

  IHS

     2

             1

       3

       110,000

             0

       110,000

      1,028

  1

  NIH

   10

           20.62

     30.62

    1,452,515

    24,220

    1,452,615

    37,614

  3

  SAMHSA

     1

             2

      3

       208,616

             0

        208616

             0

  0

PHS Total

   95

           43.367

  137.367

$10,560,301

  $99,233

$10,660,301

$680,787

  6

HHS Total

  169

           65.407

  234.407

$12,983,533

$230,134

$13,213,667

$964,711

  7



Content last reviewed on June 20, 2006