The Mississippi State Department of Health practices an open records policy, offering full and responsible access to records not exempt from disclosure.
The Department of Health's administrative process provides:
- streamlined access to records which are clearly always open;
- legal scrutiny for records that might be open;
- written denial and explanation for records that are not open to the public.
There are many records and information materials maintained by the Department of Health which are readily available and for which a Public Records Act request is not necessary. With the exception of medical records and vital records, most of the other information is available electronically on this web site.
- Copies of available statistical reports and data
- Copies of policies and regulations
- Copies of informational publications and materials
Procedures for Requesting Public Records
Any request for access to or copies of a public record must be written and addressed to:
Public Records Liaison
Office of Communications, Osborne 100
Mississippi State Department of Health
P. O. Box 1700, Jackson, MS 39215-1700
Public records requests may also be faxed to 601/576-7517. The request should be on individual or organization letterhead, clearly marked "Request for Public Records" and should describe in reasonable detail the information sought along with the date and the requestor's name,address, and telephone number. If a particular format is desired, then this should be specified.
Please note that BIRTH & DEATH CERTIFICATES ARE NOT PUBLIC RECORDS AND CANNOT BE REQUESTED IN THIS MANNER.
Requests for non-exempt records that are not readily available in the form specified will be handled on a case-by-case basis; if the records are open but not compiled in the form specified, the requestor may conduct his own search in conjunction with one or more Department of Health employee(s).
Whenever possible, records will be supplied at little or no cost to the individual requestor, but the Department of Health may charge reasonable fees as follows to cover retrieval and copying costs:
$10 per hour for clerical assistance
$40 per hour for technical or professional assistance
$ .25 per page copied
$50 per hour for automated records search
The Public Records Liaison or other authorized employee will promptly notify the requestor of the actual or estimated fee(s) associated with the request. Agency staff will produce and deliver the requested records only after payment of the processing fee; payment should be by certified check or money order, payable to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
If the legal staff determines that a records request is exempt or privileged under the law, the Public Records Liaison will send a letter of denial and explanation to the requestor. Such denials will be kept on file for inspection for at least three years. Legal counsel may recommend disapproval of a request because the information was obtained from third parties and contains trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information.