New York State’s Freedom of Information Law
The Freedom of Information Law is New York State's principal statute on providing for public access to the records of government. The Office's Records Access Officer is responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public requests for access to records.
"Record" means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with, or for the department, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, rules, regulations or codes.
There are certain records, or portions of records, that are not available under FOIL. These include records which:
- are specifically exempted from disclosure under state or federal statute.
- if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
- if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations.
- are trade secrets or are submitted to the department or are derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise.
- are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which if disclosed would:
- interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;
- deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;
- identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information regarding a criminal investigation; or
- reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures.
- if disclosed would endanger the life or safety of any person.
- are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not:
- statistical or factual tabulations or data;
- instructions to staff which affect the public;
- final agency policies or determinations; or
- external audits, including audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government.
- are computer codes.
- are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.
For more information about the Freedom of Information Law, visit the NYS Committee on Open Government .
How to Make a Freedom of Information Request
If you wish to access a record under the Freedom of Information Law, you must make your request in writing via e-mail, landmail, or FAX. When requesting records, please include as much detail as possible, such as relevant dates, names, descriptions, etc., so that we may properly identify which records maintained by OMH are responsive to your request. Please also include the return address where you want the response sent or, if you prefer, you may arrange to inspect the records at 44 Holland Avenue, Albany NY 12229. In-person inspection and copying is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling (518) 474-1331. Within five business days of the receipt of a written request, we will send a written acknowledgement that we received the request. Please send your inquiry via mail, e-mail, or FAX to:
Records Access Officer
New York State Office of Mental Health
44 Holland Avenue
Albany, New York 12229
FAX: (518) 473-7863
If your request for records is denied in whole or in part, you will be notified of the reason in writing and advised of your right to appeal such denial.
Should you wish to appeal a denial of your FOIL request, a request for an appeal must be received within 30 days of your receipt of the denial and should be mailed or emailed to Records Access Appeals Officer:
Records Access Appeals Officer
NYS Office of Mental Health
44 Holland Avenue
Albany, NY 12229