Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Brief Blog: FOIA Requests Require "Years" Again

Since I first heard of FOIA, I've heard it takes "years and years."  I've done at least a dozen FOIA requests, and some of them I got great responses in a few months, others a year.

CMS FOIA seems to be running slower now.  I got an email this week from CMS about my 2021 FOIA request, saying it is still in queue.  They ask me to confirm if it's still of interest, to help them clear their backfiles.  I noticed the letter remarks that they are taking their thousands of back-requests on a strict first in first out basis.

See my earlier blog on user-friendly FOIA tips here.  CMS letter, click to enlarge.

click to enlarge


One thing I learned over time, it was usually better to route a FOIA request - even for MAC documents - via CMS FOIA, because they would log it, track it, pursue it, and get back to me.  A denial from CMA FOIA, if it occurred, came packaged with precise appeal instructions, which I've used successfully.

In contrast, in my experience, sending direct-to-MAC FOIA requests could be very hit and miss, and often would get oblique answers and no guidance to appeals rights.