PSC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Home

HHS FOIA Resources
PSC FOIA Resources

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute that provides a person a right to request access to federal agency records, except to the extent records are protected from disclosure by one or more of the nine exemptions or three exclusions of the FOIA.

The FOIA is a means by which the general public can obtain access to agency records. Public information documents, such as press releases, publications, speeches, etc., are available from PSC without filing a FOIA request. You can use the PSC search engine to help you locate documents on the PSC website. You may also wish to search the website for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for other publicly available material maintained by HHS.

What We Do

The Division of FOIA Services serves several functions detailed below.

FOIA and Privacy Act Requests

The Division handles FOIA requests for records in the custody of the Program Support Center (PSC), the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The Division also handles Privacy Act requests for material in systems of records within PSC. Additional Privacy Act information.

FOIA Appeals

If you receive a letter denying any portion of your request, you may file an appeal. The Division reviews appeals for PSC and the following Public Health Service (PHS) agencies:  AHRQ, ASH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

If you chose to submit an appeal, it must be in writing and sent within 30 days to the review official at the address provided in your denial letter. The appeal letter should state the reasons why you believe that the FOIA exemption(s) cited do not apply to the records you requested, or give reasons why they should be released regardless of whether the exemption(s) apply. Because we have discretionary authority in deciding whether to release or withhold certain types of records, you may strengthen your request by explaining your reasons for wanting the records. However, you are not required to give any explanation.

If the review official grants your appeal, we will grant access to the records or explain the reason for delay. If the decision is to deny your appeal, the official will state the reasons for the decision in writing and inform you of the FOIA provision for judicial review.

Records Management

The Division serves as the PSC Records Management Officer and is the point of contact for the OS records officer, the Departmental Records Officer, NARA, the General Services Administration (GSA), and other agencies on matters concerning records management. Additional Records Management information.

How to Submit a Request

Our policy is to answer all requests as accurately and completely as possible from existing agency records. In order to accomplish this most efficiently, requests should be submitted in writing by postal service, facsimile, courier, or e-mail. Providing the request in writing assures that all the rights provided by the FOIA and HHS regulations are protected. Additional information about submitting a FOIA request can be found in our Guide for Submitting a FOIA Request to PSC.