Maine Department of Health and Human Services Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback Software Documents

Algorithmic Transparency filed this request with the Department of Health and Human Services of Maine.
Due Nov. 22, 2016
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Michael Morisy

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Maine Freedom of Access Act ("FOAA"), I hereby request the following records:

This request is concerning the the software and algorithm used in the Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback Software. For reference and help retrieving responsive documents, this program was publicly discussed in the following news article:

I am requesting the following records related to the above program:

* Any software and algorithms developed for the implementation of the program. I'm particularly interested in any algorithms that have a public policy outcome, such as providing guidance on a policy or an assessment of an individual. More generally, I would like any software that was developed by or with, given to, used by, purchased or licensed to this agency for implementation of the above referenced program. This would include original source code, any compiled binaries (also known as executables), spreadsheets, program scripts, and other digital materials used to calculate any data in the above program. It would also include the input training data for machine learning algorithms. Collectively, these responsive materials will be referred to as "the software" in the following paragraphs.

* All instructional materials, presentations and presentation materials (including recorded video and audio, PowerPoint files, prepared remarks, and slides formats), and other guidance on the use of "the software." This includes any notes taking during meetings that discussed the use of the software, any explanations (whether internally or externally generated) of how the software works, and any other document that has been used to help explain the use of "the software" to any party, including internal documentation, public relations materials, and executive summaries. This also includes any description of input and output data fields that will aid in understanding the type of information that is submitted to the software, and that is produced by the software.

* A copy of any privacy impact assessments, use policies, standard operating procedures, data retention policies, legal opinions, warranties, non-disclosure agreements, contracts, liability waivers, insurance agreements, Requests for Proposals, Responses to Requests for Proposal, Memorandums of Understanding, Letters of Interest, usage policies, or informal agreements that reference "the software" or otherwise guide it use or the relationship between this agency and the provider or developer of the software.

* A copy of any funding opportunity announcements, grant applications and grantor status/progress reports, reports to legislative bodies, annual reports that mention the use of the Software, as well as audit records, including but not limited to security audits of the software, misuse reports, and reports to oversight bodies.
* A copy of any validation studies conducted with respect to the program or with respect to any software or algorithms used in connection with the program, and a copy of any records pertaining to inquiries for the need of validation studies, or discussion of potential or actual validation studies. By “validation study,” I mean any study designed to assess how accurate the program is in predicting what it is supposed to predict, or to assess whether the program may err in the direction of either under- or overestimating likelihoods or predicted outcomes, or may produce any results that are biased or unexpected in any way.

* For the aspects of the software that require an input, for example, to compute a value, we request a copy of the five most recent sets of data that were used for input, as well as the five most recent outputs of the software, in whatever their native format is. If these inputs or outputs include exempt information, we ask that you exempt only that information which is specifically exempted from law, and provide the other material.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by 1 M.R.S.A. § 408(6). The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.


Michael Morisy

From: Veilleux, Kathy

Thank you for your e-mail. I will be out of the on Monday, November 28, 2016. I'll respond to your e-mail as quickly as possible when I return to the office on Tuesday, November 29, 2016. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Norma Tunks at 287-1921 or Thank you.

From: Gilbert, Denise E.

Please see attached letter from Kevin Wells, General Counsel, DHHS regarding your recent request for records related to Maine's Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback Software Documents.

Thank you.

Denise E. Gilbert
Legislative Coordinator
Department of Health and Human Services

From: Michael Morisy

Dear Ms. Gilbert:

Further to our FOAA request of 11.15.16 and in response to your letter of 11.21.16, we agree to your request that we pay the estimated costs if they exceed $30, up to $100. If the costs are more than that, we request that you let us know so we can determine how to proceed.

In an effort to narrow our request, what we're really most interested in are any:
- contracts, proposals, RFPs, and letters of intent (not price information);
- training data;
- validity studies;
- correspondence, including emails and other correspondence (a) between the agency and vendor concerning development and implementation of the software and related processes, (b) within the agency concerning the efficacy, reliability, and accuracy of the software and related processes, and c) any other concerns related to the use of the software and related processes; and
- sample output.

All of the above relate to the Eckerd Rapid Safety software and related processes, and will assist us in understanding the government policies concerning this program and its implementation. We will look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Holidays,
Ellen Goodman (working with Michael Morisy)