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HHS EFOIA Reading Room Certification

October 21, 2008

To:U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
From:Christina Pearson
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
Chief FOIA Officer
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Subject:Certification of Freedom of Information Act Reading Room Compliance

A. Internal Review of Agency FOIA Reading Room

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requester Service Center (FRSC) Reading Room webpages have been reviewed to ensure compliance with the FOIA requirements. 

There are thirteen (13) major Staff (STAFFDIV) and Operating (OPDIV) Divisions, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, which operate one or more FOIA Reading Room web pages.  These include the following:

  • Office of the Secretary/Office of the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs  (OS/ASPA)
  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  • Administration on Aging (AOA)
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)
  • Public Health Service/Program Support Center (PHS/PSC)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

B. Any Reading Room Deficiencies Addressed

After reviewing each OPDIV FOIA Reading Room webpage, it was determined that each    HHS FOIA Reading Room webpage contained at least one deficiency. The following FOIA Reading Room webpages contained deficiencies:

  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Deficiencies: The OS/ASPA Reading Room lacked the presence of a link for policy statements specific to HHS.

Step(s) Taken: A link pertaining to policy statements was created and placed within the HHS FOIA Reading Room webpage.

  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Deficiencies: The ACF lacked a dedicated FOIA reading room webpage and lacked headings and/or links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An FOIA Reading Room webpage was created with the required categories of records. 

  • Administration on Aging (AOA)

Deficiencies: The AOA lacked a dedicated FOIA reading room webpage and lacked headings and/or links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: A FOIA Reading Room webpage was created with the required categories of records. 

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Deficiencies: The AHRQ lacked a dedicated FOIA reading room webpage and lacked headings and/or links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: A FOIA Reading Room webpage was created which contained the required categories of records. 

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

 Deficiencies: The CMS lacked a dedicated FOIA reading room webpage and lacked headings and/or links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An FOIA Reading Room webpage was created which contained the required categories of records. 

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Deficiencies: The FDA has five Centers and two Divisions, of which each has its own FOIA Reading Room webpage. Each Center and Division webpage lacked of some of the required categories of records and/or lacked headings and links to various categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An update was made to each of the FOIA Reading Room webpages which now contain the required categories of records. An update was made to the two organizational subcomponents’ FOIA Reading Room webpages which now link to the FDA’s main FOIA Reading Room website, which in turn contains links to the required categories of records.

  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Deficiencies: The HRSA lacked a dedicated FOIA reading room webpage, and/or headings and links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An FOIA Reading Room webpage was created which includes the required categories of records. 

  • Indian Health Service (IHS)

Deficiencies: The IHS lacked the presence of any link within its FOIA Reading Room webpage to one of the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An update was made to the IHS FOIA Reading Room which now has a link to each of the required categories of records. 

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Deficiencies: The NIH has several Centers and Institutes, each of which lacked the presence of an FOIA reading room webpage and/or lacked headings and links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: Each Center and Institute has a link within its FOIA webpage which now directs the public to the NIH main FOIA Reading Room webpage, which contains links pertaining to records within the various categories of records.

  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)

Deficiencies: The OIG lacked a dedicated FOIA reading room webpage, and headings and links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An FOIA Reading Room webpage was created which includes the required categories of records. 

  • Public Health Service/Program Support Center (PHS/PSC)

Deficiencies: The PHS/PSC lacked a dedicated FOIA Reading Room webpage, headings, and links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: An FOIA Reading Room webpage was created which now directs the public to the main HHS FOIA Reading Room webpage, which contains links to the required categories of records.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Deficiencies: The SAMHSA lacked a dedicated FOIA Reading Room webpage and/or headings and links pertaining to the required categories of records.

Step(s) Taken: A FOIA Reading Room webpage was created which contains the required categories of records. 

C. Certification

After completion of the review of the HHS FOIA Reading Room webpages, I have determined that all deficiencies have been identified and that those deficiencies have been addressed appropriately.  As a result, I hereby certify that each HHS FOIA Reading Room webpage is now in compliance with the legal requirements for the establishment and maintenance of FOIA Reading Rooms.