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Guidelines for Access to Public Records

(Spanish Version)

You may look at, and get copies of, most records held by the California Department of Public Health. You have this right because of a state law named the Public Records Act. You do not have the right to look at confidential records (such as those with private information about other people, trade secrets, advice from our lawyers, etc.)

This is how you go about asking for public records:

  • You can send us a letter or e-mail (CDPH.InternetAdmin@cdph.ca.gov). You do not have to tell us who you are, or why you want the records.
  • If you are not sure what records you want, or how to describe them, we will help you. We know how the records are filed, so we can advise you on the fastest way to get what you want, and at the lowest cost.
  • We will do our best to get you the records quickly. Sometimes, the records you want may not be available because someone in our office is using them, or you want more records than we can handle showing you at the time. If that happens, we will set a time for you to come back. We can also send you a copy of the records later.
  • We need to be able to watch over the files while you are reviewing them because these are official government records. We must make sure that they do not get damaged, changed, or removed.
  • There is no charge to just look at records. There is no charge if you copy records on your own equipment that you bring to our office. If you want us to make the copies, we charge 10 cents per page. If you want copies of electronic records that we can put on a CD or DVD, we charge one dollar for each CD or DVD. If you pay us with a personal check, we need to wait for the check to clear before starting the work. If you want us to send you copies, we will not charge for first class mail. If you want us to send it by any other method, or if special handling is involved, we will charge you our actual cost. If the total charges for your request are less than two dollars, we will not charge you anything.
  • You can come to our office at any time during that office's regular public hours. If we cannot fill your request when you show up, we may set a time for you to come back. In any case we will, within 10 calendar days of receiving your request, either make the records available to you, or let you know that up to an additional 14 calendar days may be needed for us to research your request. By the end of the 14 day period, we will tell you whether records will be produced, and by when. If some or all of the records you requested cannot be released because they are considered confidential under law, we will let you know in general what type of records they are, and why they are confidential.

These guidelines shall be posted in a conspicuous public place in California Department of Public Health offices and a free copy shall be provided upon request.

Last modified on: 2/29/2016 3:14 PM