Archive for the ‘FOIA’ Category

How to File a CMS Freedom of Information (FOIA) Request

May 17, 2012

Step 1 -In order to make a FOIA request, simply e-mail to: FOIA_Request@cms.hhs.gov or write to the CMS FOIA Office or the appropriate CMS Regional Office. The addresses and fax numbers for the CMS FOIA Office and the addresses, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses for the CMS Regional Offices are available at the “Where to File” link below.

Step 2 -For the quickest possible handling, please mark both your letter and the envelope “Freedom of Information Act Request.” You should identify the records that you seek as specifically as possible in order to increase the likelihood that the CMS will be able to locate them. Any facts that you can furnish about the time, place, authors, events, subjects, and other details of the records will be helpful to us in deciding where to search for the records that you seek.

We have provided several sample FOIA request letters that you may want to use as a guide based on the type of information you are requesting from CMS.

Step 3 -Please note that if you are requesting medical records for someone other than yourself, you will need to complete a Medicare Authorization To Disclose Personal Health Information form along with your request. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization form can be found in “Downloads” as Medicare Authorization To Disclose Personal Health Information. If the individual signing the valid authorization is not the beneficiary, then a Power of Attorney must be provided along with your request.

Step 4 -If you are requesting medical records for a deceased person, you must either A) include a copy of the document authenticating your authority as the executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act upon the behalf of the person for whom records are sought (such as probate court document, or orders of administration and/or executorship); or B) if you are not the executor of the estate, you must include a signed release authorization from the legal representative of the deceased, as well as the document authenticating the representative’s authority (such as probate court document, or orders of administration and/or executorship).

Source:
ProbateAbuseManual: How to File a CMS FOIA Request

See Also:
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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>Justices May Expand Govt. FOIA Disclosure

December 11, 2010

>Talk to any activist or researcher who uses the Freedom of Information Act to obtain government documents, and sooner or later that person will lament, “It takes forever to get the documents.”

[T]hose very words came from the mouth of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. during arguments in an FOIA case, Milner v. Department of the Navy. It was a signal that the high court, which is usually stingy when it comes to the act, might actually be poised to hand a rare victory to someone who wants to expand the scope of government disclosure.

The case involves one of the specified exemptions to disclosure under the act — Exemption 2 — allowing government agencies to withhold documents “related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.” But ever since an appeals court ruling in 1981, agencies and lower courts have turned the exemption into a broader, catchall exemption. FOIA advocates say the broader interpretation is misused to justify turning down FOIA requests on the grounds that the requested information might allow someone to circumvent agency policies or commit some other kind of unwanted mischief.

It was that widening of Exemption 2 beyond its plain language that seemed to annoy several justices, most notably Roberts. “It seems to me you’re asking us to do your job,” Roberts told Anthony Yang, assistant to the solicitor general. “You are telling us how sensitive these [documents] are and therefore it would harm the national interest if they have to be disclosed. If that’s true, you can classify them … instead of coming to us and saying you should torture the language in FOIA.” Yang said classification would not be easily done.

Justice Anthony Kennedy also seemed dubious about the broad interpretation of the exemption, stating that if an agency promulgated rules about the placement of bombs, it is “hard for me to explain that it’s just a personnel rule.”

Full Article and Source:
Justices May Expand Govt. FOIA Disclosure