Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

12 Apr 2021

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stonewalls FOIA records requests

Posted by Adam Howell


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Officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services failed to respond to multiple requests for public records made in late 2020 pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesSpecifically, I made requests for records of COVID-19-related reimbursements that were made to Four Corners Health Care Center.

Government Information Specialist Lauron Huntley of the CMS did acknowledge this request in writing on January 12, 2021. At the time, a letter of acknowledgement from CMS’s Jeffrey Wallace said that processing the request would take an additional 10 business days in addition to the 20 days required by FOIA.

After the additional 10 days had lapsed, the CMS had still failed to respond with the records or a status update.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesAdditionally, I made requests for all records of financial reimbursements for COVID-19 PCR testing expenses that were done by Cedar Diagnostics LLC, APP-UniPath, LLC, Genetic Testing Laboratory,  La Plata County or San Juan Basin Public Health Department, Catholic Health Initiatives Colorado, and were financially reimbursed with CARES Act funding and/or funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Furthermore, I asked the CMS to break out the reimbursements for COVID-19 PCR positive test results from all other COVID-19 PCR test results.

The Office of Government and Information Services was made aware of the record requests regarding the PCR testing reimbursements on Feb. 8, 2021 and March 5, 2021. Nobody from the OGIS responded in person, but someone with the email address ogis@nara.gov did open the email one week after it was sent.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fails to respond after Senators asked for assistance

In an attempt to get help with obtaining the records, I asked the Constituent Affairs Departments of Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper.

They required me to submit Release of Information Forms with some private personally identifiable information.

Even though they said that they would submit an inquiry to CMS, I haven’t heard back now for 25 days from Bennet’s staff and 40 days from Hickenlooper’s staff.

Adam Howell is a writer who believes in free press and the importance of the constitution. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.



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