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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

HHS Public Records Policy

The Department of Health and Human Services maintains vast amounts of records. Many of our records are available to the public. Aggregate client and aggregate personnel information is public. 

Some records are confidential as they are case specific. If you are seeking your own child welfare records, treatment records, or other case-specific and otherwise confidential records, please email your request to contactDHS@DHS.state.ia.us

  • Many records are gathered in confidence and must be strictly protected. 

  • Individual client records are not public. 

  • De-identified client information that could lead to real persons are not public. 

  • Personnel records are not public. Dates of employment and salary records are public. 

  • The names of people or other identifiers of those who report child abuse or neglect are not public. 

 

Public HHS records are almost always provided at no cost

This includes: 

  • Public records on the department’s web site, https://hhs.iowa.gov

  • Public records already compiled in the way requested. 

  • Public records that require a total of up to three hours to assemble and to review to protect confidential information. 

The HHS response to requests for public records is consistent

Regardless of:

  • Who is asking. 

  • How the public information will be used. 

  • Whether the requestor cites state or federal open records laws. 

There may be a charge for some requests

HHS will charge a fee to produce public documents when the actual cost of doing so is not incidental.

  • The fee will never exceed actual cost.

  • The actual cost of copies produced by printer or copier, with the first 30 pages provided for free. The actual cost of printed copies is $0.10 per page. 

  • HHS will estimate an administrative fee to compile records at a rate of $32 per hour excluding the first three hours. The estimate will include the time to locate records, screen records, and to redact information that is not public, as well as personnel time to make copies and PDFs as needed. HHS estimates that large groups of emails, including attachments and chains, can be screened and redacted at a rate of two minutes per email or attachment. 

  • There is a fee of $60 per hour for electronic data or records that require special processing to format, edit, or compile. If the data requiring special processing is maintained or administered by a third party, the requestor will pay the normal hourly rate charged by the third party to the department. 

  • The Department will estimate the total fee and will notify the requestor. 

  • If the fee is significant, the requestor is expected to pay in advance. 

  • Once payment based on the estimated fee is received, HHS will track the actual salary of personnel compiling the records. 

  • If the actual cost is less than estimated, the balance will be refunded.

  • If the actual cost is greater than estimated, the requestor will be asked to remit full payment before records will be released. 

Submitting a request for public records

Please email your request to hhsopenrecords@idph.iowa.gov. 

When submitting a request, please provide as many specific details as possible so that we may locate the record(s) quickly and efficiently.

HHS will respond to your request within 10 business days. Some requests will take longer to process based on the complexity of your request or workload and staffing issues.  You will be notified if your request will take more than 10 business days to process.