FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Connecticut Hospital Association,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-395

 

State of Connecticut Commission on Hospitals and Health Care,

 

Respondent April 27, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 16, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated December 11, 1987 the complainant made a request of the chairman of the respondent for the following documents:

 

A. "FY 1988 Rates Orders issued for acute care general hospitals on or about November 30, 1987, which incorporate FY 1987 interim compliance calculations, including but not limited to the following calculations and determinations:

 

1. FY 1986 Base Year Rate Order-PPS, included as Attachment 1 to such Rate Orders;

 

2. FY 1987 Interim Compliance Rate Recomputation-PPS, included as Attachment 2 to such Rate Orders;

 

3. FY 1988 Alternate Rate Order Determination-PPS, included as Attachment 3 to such Rate Orders;

 

4. FY 1988 Alternate DRG Fee Schedule and Outlier Per Diem Rates, included as Attachment 4 to such Rate Orders; and

 

Docket #FIC 87-395 Page 2

 

B. FY 1986 Final Compliance Orders issued for all acute care general hospitals, including but not limited to the following calculations and determinations:

 

1. PPS Base Year Peer Group Determination;

 

2. Base Year Hospital and Peer Group Computation-FY 1986; and

 

3. Fiscal Year 1986 Final Compliance Rate Recomputation."

 

3. The complainant also requested the following documents with respect to each of the respondent's orders, calculations and determinations listed in paragraph 2, above:

 

a. "Any and all software used in calculating, producing, developing, preparing, and issuing such orders, calculations, and determinations;

 

b. A hard copy of all of the output of such software;

 

c. Copies of the completed input variable listings for each acute general hospital;

 

d. Any and all software used by the Commission or its agents for purposes of analyzing and/or summarizing such hospital orders, calculations, and determinations;

 

e. Any and all instructions pertaining to the operation and use of such software and computerized information; and

 

f. Any and all schematics or drawings which describe the operation and/or interrelationship of the various components of such software or computerized information."

 

4. By letter dated December 24, 1987 the respondent indicated what information would be provided to the complainant and the cost thereof.

 

5. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on December 29, 1987 the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to provide all of the requested information.

 

Docket #FIC 87-395 Page 3

 

6. It is found that the complainant was provided with a copy of the records set forth in paragraph 2, above.

 

7. With respect to paragraph 3a, above, the respondent agreed to provide the complainant with a computer printout of the requested information.

 

8. The respondent argues that under 1-19a, G.S., it is obliged only to provide a printout of the computer-stored data and does not have to transfer the information onto a diskette as was requested by the complainant.

 

9. It is found that the respondent's orders, calculations and determinations are stored on a hard diskette which contains about 325 files and that the information can be retrieved without creating a specially designed program.

 

10. Under 1-19(a), G.S., a public agency is required to provide a person, as requested, with a copy of a non-exempt public record in accordance with the provisions of 1-15, G.S. Section 1-18a(d), G.S., defines a public record as "any recorded data or information. . . whether such data or information be handwritten, typed. . . or recorded by any other method."

 

11. It is therefore concluded that the requested information, maintained in the respondent's computer storage system is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., and subject to the provisions of 1-5 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

12. It is also concluded that 1-19a, G.S., does not limit expressly the medium of disclosure of public records maintained on a computer storage system to a printout nor does it authorize the respondent to select the medium of disclosure of public records. The respondent is obliged to provide the complainant with a copy of the information on the medium requested.

 

13. At the hearing, the respondent agreed to provide the complainant with a copy of the records set forth in paragraphs 3b, 3e and 3f, above.

 

14. It is concluded that the complainant was denied prompt access to the records set forth in paragraphs 3a, 3b, 3e and 3f, above, in violation of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 87-379 Page 4

 

15. It is found that the record set forth in paragraph 3d does not exist.

 

16. With respect to paragraph 3c, above, it is found that the respondent provided the complainant with a printout of the requested information. However, at the hearing, the complainant explained that it wants the information transferred onto a diskette.

 

17. It is found, however, that the complainant did not in its original request specify that it wanted the information transferred onto a diskette, and the respondent had no way of knowing the medium by which the complainant wanted the information provided.

 

18. It is therefore concluded that with respect to paragraph 3c, above, the respondent did not violate 1-15 or 1-19(a), G.S., by providing the complainant with a computer printout instead of a computer diskette.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant, on a computer diskette(s), the information more fully described at paragraph 3a of the findings of fact.

 

2. In complying with paragraph 1 of this order, above, the complainant shall provide the respondent with an appropriate number of suitable diskettes on which to copy the requested information.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 27, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission