New York State Department of Health: Documents Available and Unavailable for Inspection and Copying
I. Records Available for Inspection and Copying Under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)
**PLEASE NOTE: All records are subject to redactions and/or withholding pursuant to New York State Public Officers Law, Article 6.
Records Available for Review and/or Copying:
- An itemized record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the agency
- The Department's formal system of communications:
- Administrative Policy and Procedures Manual
- Environmental Health Manual
- Policy and Procedures Manual, Division of Health Facility Planning
- Surveyor's Manual
- Vital Records Registration Handbook
- Executive Memoranda
- Information Bulletins
- Department of Health Memoranda Series
- Agenda and/or minutes of councils, boards, and committees
- Department Annual Reports
- Department Adjudicatory Documents
- Vital Statistics Summary Reports
- Ambulance Services Directory
- Final inspection and survey reports in connection with license, permit approval and supervisory functions of the Department.
- Health Facilities Data:
- Home Health and HMO fiscal and statistical reports
- Rate computation sheets for Health Facilities and appeals
- Audit reports and appeals
- Health Facilities surveillance reports (Statements of Deficiencies/Plans of Correction)
- Health Facility establishment applications
- Health Facility Certificate of Need applications
- Certain Radiological Health Data
- Residential and Recreation Sanitation:
- List of migrant labor camps
- List of children's camps
- List of public swimming pools
- List of temporary residences
- Public Water Supplies:
- List of water treatment facilities
- Funeral Home Directing:
- List of approved funeral home establishments
- Nursing Home Administrators Licensure:
- Records pertaining to licensure and registration of nursing home administrators
- Radiologic Technology:
- Records pertaining to licenses and registration of radiologic technologists
- Laboratory Lists:
- Clinical labs
- Forensic labs
- ELAP approved Portable water labs
- Commercial labs with NYS approval for environmental analysis
- Home and Community Based Care Lists:
- Hospice facilities (including AIDS and pilot programs)
- Finalized Department Contracts
- Finalized Department Memoranda of Understanding
- Ad Hoc Reports or Studies
II. Confidential Reports Not Available for Inspection:
- Cancer statistics which could identify individuals
- HIV patient data
- Vital records (e.g.: marriage, birth, death certificates)
- Laboratory test results
- Patient records
- Records created by hospital quality assurance committees
- Information concerning applicants for and recipients of medical assistance
- Subject matter pertaining to Quality Assurance conditions pursuant to Public Health Law §2805-m
- Reports of patient and records of examination of TB patients
- Reports and information pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases
- Information gathered during an investigation of alleged malpractice and/or alleged patient abuse
III. How to Make A Freedom of Information Request
All requests must be made in writing. The request should clearly describe what records the requestor is looking for, should be as specific as possible and should include: The requestor's name, address, phone number and e-mail address (so that DOH can transmit records electronically, if practicable)
Freedom of Information Law requests can be made in the following manners:
- By mail:
- To submit a FOIL request please send your inquiry by mail:
Records Access Officer
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower Room 2348
Albany, New York 12237-0044
- To submit a FOIL request please send your inquiry by mail:
- By Fax: Your request may also be faxed to the Records Access Office (518) 486-9144
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pursuant to Public Officers Law, requests will be acknowledged within five (5) business days of receipt and an estimated time for completion will be provided.
Additionally, in-person inspection and copying is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling (518) 474-8734.
Note: Copies of birth, death, marriage and dissolution of marriage certificates are not available under FOIL. For information about obtaining these records visit http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/ or contact the Vital Records section of the New York State Department of Health, Vital Records, 800 N. Pearl St., Albany, NY 12204. Please be advised that birth and death certificates for events that occurred within the five boroughs of New York City are not on file with the New York State Department of Health and must be obtained from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Records, 125 Worth Street, CN-4, Room 133, New York, NY 10013 or http://www.nyc.gov/health. For marriage licenses issued within the five boroughs NYC the address is: Office of the City Clerk, 141 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013 or http://cityclerk.nyc.gov.
IV. Denial of Access
Why You Might Be Denied Access to Records or Potions thereof:
- Certain records, or portions thereof, are exempted from disclosure under authority of Public Officers Law §87(2)(a-i). These records include those which:
- are specifically exempted from disclosure under state or federal statute,
- if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under Public Officers Law §89(2).
- If disclosed would jeopardize an agency's capacity to guarantee the security of its information technology assets,
- if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations,
- are trade secrets or are submitted to the department or are derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise,
- are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which if disclosed would interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings, deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication, identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation, or reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures,
- if disclosed would endanger the life or safety of any person,
- are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not: statistical or factual tabulations or data, instructions to staff which affect the public, final agency policies or determinations, external audits, including audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government or
- are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.
- if disclosed would jeopardize the capacity of an agency or an entity that has shared information with an agency to guarantee the security of its information technology assets, such assets encompassing both electronic information systems and infrastructures.
A denial of access must be in writing, stating the reason for denial and advising your right to an appeal.
V. How to Appeal Denial of Access
In the event of denial of access by the Records Access Office, you may file an appeal within 30 days of such denial by writing to the Records Access Appeals Officer, Empire State Plaza, 2438 Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237-0026.
There is a charge of $ 0.25 per page for copies of documents or computer printouts. Pursuant to Article 6 of the Public Officer's Law, additional charges may be applied to your request, including the actual cost of the medium used to respond to your FOIL request and/or other related costs.
VI. More Information On Foil
Additional information on FOIL can be found by visiting the website of the Committee on Open Government, which can be found at http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/.