Public Records Coordination Office
In an effort to increase our ability to respond to such requests in a timely and comprehensive manner, the Agency has chosen to coordinate all Public Records Requests made to the Agency through its Public Records Coordination Office.
NOTE: The Agency for Health Care Administration's Public Records Coordination Office only deals with public records that involve the Agency (see AHCA homepage for details).
Public Records Procedure:
You can make a public records request by contacting this office by phone, fax, email, or regular mail. Please make sure your name, email address, mailing address, and telephone number are on the request so we can contact you if we have any questions. When a public records request is made, please include as much information as possible relating to your request so we can respond promptly and accurately. This information can include but is not limited to:
- The name of the provider and/or facility about which you are requesting information
- The address for that provider/facility
- The type of provider/facility (example: Assisted Living, hospital, nursing home)
- A clearly stated time period for which you are requesting records and the specific type of information you are interested in.
- Other information that is available to you that you feel would help identify the documents you are seeking.
- Inspection reports for healthcare providers may be available on-line through the AHCA Public Records Search.
- The Agency redacts any protected health information contained within in its records pursuant to HIPAA prior to release. The Agency will only release unredacted documents to an authorized individual who submits the proper release form and any necessary legal documentation demonstrating their entitlement to the information. HIPAA release information can be located here: http://ahca.myflorida.com/hipaa/index.shtml.
General information regarding charges:
- When documents can be sent by email, the Agency will do so in the interest of efficiency and to minimize costs. In these cases, the Agency will only charge a service charge for extensive time. However, when a large volume of documents is requested and must therefore be placed on a CD or DVD, the costs of those materials will be recovered.
- If the record is in electronic form, then the Agency will copy the record onto CD or DVD, as needed. The Agency will charge for the actual costs of the disk, not for the time to copy the documents onto the media.
- If the cost for providing paper or electronic copies of records is less than $5.00, including postage and special service charges, the records will be provided at no charge as long as it is not cost-effective to collect such fees.
- One-sided Copy: $ 0.15 per page of not more than 8½ x 14 inches
- Double-sided copy: $ 0.20 per page of not more than 8½ x 14 inches
- All other copies: Actual cost of duplication (material and supplies, not labor)
- CD-ROM: $0.85 each
- DVD: $1.15 each
- Certified Copies: $1.00 per page
- Packaging and shipping charges: vary based on size of package
Special Service Charge:
- A special service charge will be imposed if the nature or volume of public records requested requires extensive use of information technology resources and/or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by agency personnel.
- A special service charge will be warranted if the nature or volume of the public records requested to be inspected or copied requires more than thirty minutes of agency resources. Once thirty minutes of agency resources have been expended on a request, the charge will apply only to any time expended in addition to the first thirty minutes. In other words, there will not be a special service charge for the first thirty minutes of time regardless of how long it takes to fulfill the request.
- Clerical or supervisory assistance includes searching for and/or locating the requested record, reviewing records for legally exempt or confidential information, deletion of such exempt or confidential information, and preparing, copying, and re-filing of the requested records.
- If multiple agency divisions are involved, the special service charge will be based on the aggregate amount of time expended by all personnel and information technology resources, if applicable.
- The rate charged for clerical or supervisory assistance will be based on the lowest paid full-time personnel in the Agency capable of processing the public-records request (based on salary and benefits). In those cases where legal review is necessary, the charge will be based on the lowest attorney rate (salary and benefits) in the Office of General Counsel.
- The special service charge is in addition to any charges for the actual cost of duplication.
Collecting Recovered Costs:
- Payment for costs assessed will be collected before documents are copied, reviewed, redacted, or otherwise processed for release if their production meets the threshold for extensive time or material costs.
- If the actual costs incurred are less than such payment as estimated, the overpayment will be refunded to the requestor. The requestor will be required to remit additional monies upon release of the documents to pay for any costs in excess of the estimate.
- In the event the requestor fails to remit additional monies to cover costs in excess of the deposit, the requested public records will not be released.
Reducing Costs and Limiting Charges:
- Labor costs can be reduced significantly if requests include keywords instead of open-ended terms such as “all documents or emails.” Similarly, narrowing a request to certain individuals or divisions can greatly reduce the use of extensive labor.
- Many easily accessible records are available online for no charge. The Agency will continue to add documents and information as we identify some of the most frequently requested public records.
If you have any further questions please contact the Public Records Coordination Office at 850-412-3688.