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Modification to HHS FOIA Improvement Plan

MEMORANDUM

To:

Alberto Gonzalez
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice

Rob Portman
Director, Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President

 

From:

Michael O. Leavitt
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

SUBJECT:

Freedom of Information Act
Improvement Plan Amendment,
Executive Order 13392

Executive Order 13392, Improving Agency Disclosure of Information, required Executive Branch departments to reform their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) programs in order to be more citizen-centered. The Executive Order required a review of agency FOIA operations and a FOIA Improvement Plan.

The HHS FOIA Improvement included a number of specific activities to improve the overall FOIA program and operations. The Plan, however, requires an amendment to better and more clearly describe, in achievable terms, the goal of addressing the existing backlog of FOIA requests.

The Amendment to the FOIA Improvement Plan, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is attached.

Attachment

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Freedom of Information Act

Improvement Plan Amendment

 

 

 

 

E. Improvement Areas

The HHS previously committed to reduce its overall current backlog in 2006. HHS closed 35,177 more requests in FY 2006 than were closed in FY2005. Nevertheless, HHS was faced with an even larger number of new FOIA requests (35,780 new requests) in FY2006. Thus, despite the Department’s best efforts to improve processing, including significant increases in the numbers of FOIA requests closed by CMS, FDA, NIH and IHS, the number of new FOIA requests submitted to HHS during FY2006 resulted in a modest increase in the Department’s FOIA backlog.

In order to focus on the more aged FOIA requests within the Department, and to focus concurrently on an achievable outcome in accordance with Executive Order 13392, the HHS will work to reduce the backlog of FOIA requests, received before FY 2007, by 5% in FY 2007.