Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - VA Portland Health Care System
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VA Portland Health Care System

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, is a federal freedom of information law that requires the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government upon request.  The act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures, and defines nine exemptions to the statute.  The act was intended to make U.S. government agencies’ functions more transparent so that the American public could more easily identify problems in government functioning and put pressure on Congress, agency officials, and the president to address them.  A FOIA request can be made for any agency record.  You can also specify the format you wish to receive the records (for example, printed or electronic form).  The FOIA does not require agencies to create new records or to conduct research, analyze data, or answer questions when responding to requests.

Submitting a FOIA Request

There are no special forms required to submit a request, however the Department of Veterans Affairs requires that your FOIA request

  • Be in writing and signed by the person submitting the request.
    • To assist in processing, the request letter envelope, or fax cover sheet of any FOIA request should be marked “Freedom of Information Act Request”. The requester must also include other contact information, such as telephone number and e-mail address.  If the requested records concern your personal  privacy or that of another person, then the request MUST be signed.
  • Reasonably describe the records so that may be located with a reasonable amount of effort.
  • State your willingness to pay applicable fees. 
    • FOIA Fee information For the purpose of fees only, FOIA divides requesters into three categories: 
      • (1) commercial requesters may be charged fees for searching records, reviewing the records, reviewing the records, and photocopying them;
      • (2) educational, noncommercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media are charged for photocopying after the first 100 pages;
      • (3) all other requesters (requesters who do not fall into any of the other two categories) are charged for photocopying after 100 pages and the time spent searching for records in excess to two hours.
    • The VA charges $0.15 per single-sided page for photocopying.  Actual costs are charged for a format other than paper copy, such as computer tapes, disks and videotapes.
    • Fee Waivers Agencies may grant fee waivers if the requester successfully describes that the disclosure of information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
    • Include a day time telephone number in case we need to contact you.
    • Be submitted to the facility that maintains the records.
    • If you don’t know which VA health care system the records are located, submit your request to vacofoiaservice@va.gov .

    VA Portland Health Care System FOIA Contact information

    Phone - (503) 220-8262, ext. 51023 
    Email -  FOIAPortland@va.gov
    Mail -    3710 SW U.S. Veterans Hospital Road, P5-PRIV, Portland, OR 97239
    Fax -    (503) 721-7920 (DO NOT fax non-FOIA-related documents here.)

    Contact Info

    Location

    • Mail: 3710 SW U.S. Veterans Hospital Road, P5-PRIV, Portland, OR 97239

    Contact Number(s)

    • 503-220-8262 Ext. 51023

    Hours of Operation

    • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.