SubPart 50-1 - Access to Records

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Section 50-1.1 - Statement of purpose

Section 50-1.1 Statement of purpose.

The purpose of this Subpart is to set forth the methods and procedures governing the availability, location and nature of those records of the New York State Department of Health subject to the provisions of article 6 of the Public Officers Law, known as the Freedom of Information Law, and the rules of the Committee on Open Government.
 

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Section 50-1.2 - Definitions

50-1.2 Definitions. As used in this Subpart, the following words and terms shall have the indicated meanings:

(a) Statistical tabulation means a collection or orderly presentation of numerical data logically arranged in columns, rows or graphic representation. Opinions, policy options and recommendations do not constitute statistical tabulations.

(b) Factual tabulation means a collection of statements of objective information logically arranged and reflecting objective reality, actual existence or an actual occurrence. Opinions, policy options and recommendations do not constitute factual tabulations.

(c) Records access officer means the person designated as responsible for ensuring that the department complies with provisions of the Freedom of Information Law and the regulations herein and coordinates the department's response to requests for access to or copies of records.

(d) Records access appeals officer means the Director, Department of Health, Public Affairs Group, whose business address is: Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237.

(e) Record means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for the department, in any physical form whatsoever, including, but not limited to reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes.

(f) Trade secret means information which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise.
 

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Section 50-1.3 - Times and places for inspecting records

50-1.3 Times and places for inspecting records.

(a) Records shall be available for inspection and copying by members of the public and members of the news media on every day that the offices of the department are open for the transaction of business between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.

(b) Records may be inspected at locations designated by the appropriate records access officer, whose titles and business addresses are as set forth in section 50-1.4 of this Subpart.
 

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Section 50-1.4 - Persons from whom records may be obtained

50-1.4 Persons from whom records may be obtained.

All requests from the public or members of the news media, to inspect and/or copy records subject to public disclosure as provided by this Subpart are to be made to the appropriate records access officer as follows:

(a) With respect to records maintained in the central offices of the department in Albany, he/she shall be the department records access officer whose business address is: Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237.

(b) With respect to records maintained in the area offices of the Office of Health Systems Management, he/she shall be the area administrator whose business addresses are:

(1) New York City Area Office

Office of Health Systems Management

116 West 32nd Street

New York, NY 10001

(2) Albany Area Office

Office of Health Systems Management

Building No. 7A, State Campus

Albany, NY 12226

(3) Buffalo Area Office

Office of Health Systems Management

584 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14202

(4) Rochester Area Office

Office of Health Systems Management

Bevier Building

42 South Washington Street

Rochester, NY 14608

(5) Syracuse Area Office

Office of Health Systems Management

677 South Salina Street

Syracuse, NY 13202

(6) New Rochelle Area Office

Office of Health Systems Management

145 Huguenot Street

New Rochelle, NY 10801

(c) With respect to records maintained in the regional or area offices of the Office of Public Health, he/she shall be the regional health director or area public health director whose business addresses are:

(1) New York City Regional Office

Office of Public Health

8-10 East 40th Street

New York, NY 10016

(2) Northern Regional Office

Office of Public Health

Building No. 7A, State Campus

Albany, NY 12226

(3) Southern Regional Office

Office of Public Health

145 Huguenot Street

New Rochelle, NY 10801

(4) Western Regional Office

Office of Public Health

584 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14202

(5) Rochester Area Office

Office of Public Health

Bevier Building

42 South Washington Street

Rochester, NY 14609

(6) Syracuse Area Office

Office of Public Health

351 South Warren Street

Syracuse, NY 13202

(d) With respect to records maintained in the State institutions in the department, he/she shall be the director of such facility whose business address is as follows:

(1) Helen Hayes Hospital

West Haverstraw, NY 10993

(2) New York State Veterans' Home

Oxford, NY 13830

(3) Roswell Park Memorial Institute

666 Elm Street

Buffalo, NY 14263
 

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Section 50-1.5 - Fees for copying records

50-1.5 Fees for copying records.

(a) Fees for certification of copies and supplying transcripts of all documents and records under the seal of the State Commissioner of Health shall be the fees as prescribed by the Public Health Law or applicable regulation of the department.

(b) Fees for photocopies or data printouts of records available pursuant to this Subpart shall be 25 cents per page and $60 for transfer of computer files to a requestor's computer tape.

(c) Except where fees are established by law, rule or regulation, no fee shall be charged for:

(1) inspection of a record;

(2) record searches;

(3) certification pursuant to this Subpart; and

(4) publications of the department provided free to residents of the State of New York.

(d) Fees shall be paid in full or a valid offer made to pay established fees prior to issuance of copies, transcripts or certification of records.

(e) Payment shall be made in the form of a check, bank draft, or money order payable to the New York State Department of Health, or if personally delivered may be made in cash for which a receipt shall be given.
 

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Section 50-1.6 - Availability of department records

50-1.6 Availability of department records.

(a) All records of the department are available for public inspection and copying, except that access may be denied to records or portions thereof that:

(1) are specifically exempted from disclosure by State or Federal statute;

(2) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(i) an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but is not limited to:

(a) disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment;

(b) disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a medical facility;

(c) sale or release of lists of names and addresses if such lists would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes;

(d) disclosure of information of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such information is not relevant to the work of the department or the agency requesting it; or

(e) disclosure of information of a personal nature reported in confidence to the department and not relevant to the ordinary work of the department;

(ii) disclosure is not construed to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy when:

(a) identifying details are deleted;

(b) the person to whom a record pertains consents in writing to disclosure;

(c) upon presenting reasonable proof of identity, a person seeks access to records pertaining to him/her;

(3) if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations;

(4) are trade secrets or are maintained for the regulation of commercial enterprise which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise;

(5) are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would: (i) interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;

(ii) deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;

(iii) identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; or

(iv) reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques or procedures;

(6) if disclosed would endanger life or safety of any person;

(7) are inter-agency or intra-agency material which are not:

(i) statistical or factual tabulations or data;

(ii) instructions to staff that affect the public; or

(iii) final agency policy or determination; or

(8) are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.

(b) Nothing in this Subpart shall permit disclosure which constitutes an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, if such disclosure is prohibited under article 6-A (Personal Privacy Protection Law) of the Public Officers Law.
 

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Section 50-1.7 - Procedures governing inspection and copying of records

50-1.7 Procedures governing inspection and copying of records. Inspection and copying of records shall be made in the following manner:

(a) Records access requests must be reasonably described and in writing.

(b) The records access officer shall, within five business days after receipt of a request:

(1) make requested records available;

(2) deny the request in writing. Such denial should:

(i) explain the reason for the denial;

(ii) set forth the right of appeal to the records access appeals officer; and

(iii) provide the name, title, business address and telephone number of the records access appeals officer; or

(3) furnish written acknowledgment of the request and the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied.

(c) If access to records is neither granted nor denied within 10 business days after the date of acknowledgment of receipt of request, the request may be construed as a denial of access that may be appealed.

(d) If access is approved, the records access officer shall cause a search for the records requested.

(e) If the record cannot be found after diligent search, the records access officer shall so notify the requestor.

(f) Upon request, the records access officer will certify that the record is a true copy.

(g) Where applicable, nondisclosable information will be deleted from a record as authorized by the Freedom of Information Law.

(h) The original or file copies of records will not be released from departmental files.

(i) Persons requesting records in the possession of the department but which records originated in any other State or Federal agency, shall be referred to the originating agency when there is a question concerning confidentiality requirements.

(j) Persons inspecting a record shall be allowed to copy it by any means which will not damage the record.

(k) A reasonably detailed current list of any records subject to the Freedom of Information Law, shall be maintained by the department and updated semiannually.

(l) The locations where public records are available for inspection or copying pursuant to this Subpart shall be posted in conspicuous places.
 

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Section 50-1.8 - Trade secrets

50-1.8 Trade secrets.

Trade secrets regulated under article 48, Toxic Substances, of the Public Health Law are registered under, and subject to, Part 72 of this Title. Documents which contain trade secrets or are maintained for the regulation of commercial enterprise which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of an enterprise may be withheld from public disclosure.

(a) Requests of exceptions from disclosure shall:

(1) be in writing to the records access officer;

(2) be submitted at the time the trade secret information is submitted;

(3) include the name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer, producer, formulator, employer or person desiring to register a trade secret;

(4) include the name and title of an individual who may be contacted concerning the request;

(5) include the name or other identification of the trade secret; and

(6) state reasons why the information should be excepted from disclosure.

(b) Information submitted as a trade secret is excepted from disclosure until 15 days after a determination regarding entitlement status has been finally determined or, when entitlement to an exception from disclosure has been granted, until such entitlement has expired, or until such further time as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) Documents pending or granted trade secret status will be assigned a control number by the records access officer.

(d) Department units responsible for collecting trade secret information are responsible for determining trade secret entitlement and safeguarding the information during the review process and until trade secret entitlement no longer exists.

(e) Documents granted trade secret status or pending a trade secret status determination will be filed in envelopes with flaps, or other containers which will effectively maintain the integrity of the documents and which can be marked so as to clearly limit access to the contents. The container is to be marked with the following:

(1) "contains trade secrets";

(2) the trade secret control number;

(3) bureau identification; and

(4) "access to or use of contents only with bureau director authorization."

(f) Trade secrets are to be maintained apart from other documents in a locked file cabinet, locked desk drawer or other place secure from general access. Bureau directors assigned custody are responsible for establishing control of trade secret documents and establishing a system of limited access which identifies persons within the department for whose inspection and study the record will be made available so as to prevent intentional or unintentional disclosure of the information.

(g) On the initiative of the department at any time, or upon the request of any person for a record excepted from disclosure, the department will:

(1) inform the person who requested the exception of the department's intention to determine whether such exception should be granted or continued;

(2) permit the person who requested the exception, within 10 business days of receipt of notification from the department, to submit a written statement of the need for continuation of such exception;

(3) within seven business days of receipt of such written statement, or within seven business days of the expiration of the period prescribed for submission of such statement, issue a written determination granting, continuing or terminating such exception and stating the reasons therefor; copies of such determination shall be served upon the person, if any, requesting the record, the person who requested the exception, and the Committee on Open Government.

(h) A denial of exception from disclosure or a denial of access to excepted information may, within seven business days of receipt of written notice of the denial, be appealed to the records access appeals officer. The appeal determination shall be made within 10 business days of the receipt of the appeal. A written notice of the determination shall be served upon the person, if any, requesting access, the person who requested exception and the Committee on Open Government. The notice shall contain a statement of the reasons for the determination.
 

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Section 50-1.9 - Appeals of denial of access to records

50-1.9 Appeals of denial of access to records.

(a) Except as provided for in section 50-1.8 of this Subpart, any person who has been denied access to records by the records access officer may appeal such denial in writing within 30 days to the records access appeals officer.

(b) The time for deciding on an appeal by the records access appeals officer shall commence upon receipt of the written appeal, which shall identify:

(1) the date and location of request for records;

(2) the records to which the requester was denied access; and

(3) the name and return address of the requester.

(c) The records access appeals officer shall, on receipt, forward a copy of the appeal to the Committee on Open Government and within 10 business days review the matter and affirm, modify or reverse the denial.

(d) If the records access appeals officer determines that the denial of access was erroneous, he/she shall instruct the records access officer to allow prompt inspection or copying of the record as requested.

(e) If the records access appeals officer affirms or modifies the denial, he/she shall communicate the determination and reasons in writing to the person making the appeal and inform such person of the right of judicial appeal with a copy to the Committee on Open Government.
 

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