Pennysylvania PDMP Data Request

Sarah Seymour filed this request with the Pennsylvania Department of Health of Pennsylvania.
Tracking #

DOH-RTKL-MSC-119-2019

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Sarah Seymour

To Whom it May Concern,
Northeastern University’s School of Social Justice and Health Equity is interested in the state’s prescription monitoring program, the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PA PDMP). Specifically, we want to learn more about law enforcement access to the database, the use of an algorithm that produces a risk assessment score to analyze its contents, and the data access and retention rules governing the system. We understand the algorithm was produced by the corporation Appriss Health.

In order to permit the public to understand how the Pennsylvania Department of Health is using the PA PDMP and how it impacts public health and civil liberties in Pennsylvania, Northeastern University’s Health in Justice Action Lab is making this request under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law, 65 §66.1 et seq., for the following records:

1. Any and all records reflecting an agreement for purchase, acquisition, or licensing of, or permission to use, test, or evaluate Appriss’s systems or services, including any product or service offered;

2. Any and all memoranda of understanding between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and any outside entity regarding the PA PDMP.

3. Any and all records including information about the algorithm that determines risk scores in the PA PDMP, including but not limited to its source code, developer documentation, and operator manuals (e.g. NarxScores, Overdose Risk Scores);

4. Any and all research, technical reports, or internal audits that define and/or evaluate the PA PDMP effectiveness or performance;

5. Any and all research, technical reports, or internal audits that evaluate the Appriss risk assessment tool’s effectiveness or performance

6. Any document containing a full list of the data fields in the PA PDMP;

7. Any and all records of de-identified red flag algorithm outputs (e.g. provider red flag, pharmacy red flag, 40 MED red flag) and patient behavioral red flags (e.g., anxious patient demeanor, distance between prescriber and dispenser) with prescriber/dispenser training documentation on how to address the red flags;

8. Any record showing the number of patients in the PA PDMP by quarter and year (2006-present);

9. Any record showing the number of prescribers and pharmacists in the PA PDMP by quarter and year (2006-present);

10. Any and all records containing Pennsylvania Department of Health analysis of whether and/or how the PA PDMP has impacted public health in Pennsylvania (e.g. decrease or increase in overdose rates, “doctor shopping,” prescribing volume, etc.) over time;

11. Any and all records 2006-present of notification to law enforcement about information in the PA PDMP Medical Review Group or other channels, including but not limited to how many times law enforcement agencies have been notified about information in the PA PDMP, and which agencies have been notified;

12. Any and all internal policy, memoranda, and/or training documentation describing how entities outside of Pennsylvania Department of Health, including law enforcement, may obtain access to information in the PA PDMP, including but not limited to the rules, regulations, and procedures of the Medical Review Group;

13. The legal authorization for sharing PA PDMP information with the law enforcement entities; and

14. Any and all records showing how often law enforcement entities or individuals have requested information or records from the PA PDMP, or made electronic queries of the system, including but not limited to what types of information or records have been requested, which agencies have made the requests, the percent of requests that were accepted versus denied, temporal trends, the form of the request (e.g. subpoena, warrant, etc.), and whether the requests were granted or denied.

Because this request involves a matter of public concern and because it is made on behalf of a nonprofit organization, we ask that you waive any fees. If you decide not to waive fees, we request that you permit us to examine, at our election, the responsive documents before deciding which portions to transmit. We prefer the documents in electronic format.
Should you determine that some portion of the documents requested are exempt from disclosure, please release any reasonably segregable portions that are not exempt. In addition, please note the applicable statutory exemption and explain why it applies to the redacted portions. As you know, a custodian of public records shall comply with a request within 5 days after receipt.

Thank you for your assistance. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Sarah Seymour

From: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Good Afternoon,

Attached is the Pennsylvania Department of Health's interim response to your RTKL request. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks!

Lisa M. Keefer | Administrative Officer
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Office of Legal Counsel
Room 825 | Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster Street | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Ph: 717-783-2500 | Fax: 717-705-6042
www.health.pa.gov<http://www.health.pa.gov>

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any use of this information other than by the intended receipient is prohibited. If you received this message in error, please send a reply e-mail to the sender and delete the material from any and all computers. Unintended transmissions shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege.

From: Sarah Seymour

Hi Lisa,

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from your department in regards to our request!

Best,

HIJ Action Lab

From: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Good Morning,

We are working diligently to collect all the documents in your request, but need additional time. Would you be willing to give us until Friday, October 25th?

If we have all the documents before then, we will provide them to you. Please advise.

Thanks!

Lisa M. Keefer | Administrative Officer
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Office of Legal Counsel
Room 825 | Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster Street | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Ph: 717-783-2500 | Fax: 717-705-6042
www.health.pa.gov<http://www.health.pa.gov>

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any use of this information other than by the intended receipient is prohibited. If you received this message in error, please send a reply e-mail to the sender and delete the material from any and all computers. Unintended transmissions shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege.

From: Sarah Seymour

Hi Lisa,

Totally! Thank you so much for the assistance and looking forward to hearing you on Oct. 25.

Best,

HIJ Action Lab

From: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Good Afternoon,

We have collected most of the documents you requested, but there is still a small amount left to collect. We then still need to review them for any redactions that may be necessary. The quantity of the documents were more than we expected and so we will need an additional 30 days to complete our review until November 25, 2019. If we complete our review before then, we will provide you with the documents. We appreciate your patience. Please advise.

Thanks!

Lisa M. Keefer | Administrative Officer
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Office of Legal Counsel
Room 825 | Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster Street | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Ph: 717-783-2500 | Fax: 717-705-6042
www.health.pa.gov<http://www.health.pa.gov>

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any use of this information other than by the intended receipient is prohibited. If you received this message in error, please send a reply e-mail to the sender and delete the material from any and all computers. Unintended transmissions shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege.

From: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Good Afternoon,

Attached is the Pennsylvania Department of Health's final response to your RTKL request. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks!

Lisa M. Keefer | Administrative Officer
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Office of Legal Counsel
Room 825 | Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster Street | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Ph: 717-783-2500 | Fax: 717-705-6042
www.health.pa.gov<http://www.health.pa.gov>

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any use of this information other than by the intended receipient is prohibited. If you received this message in error, please send a reply e-mail to the sender and delete the material from any and all computers. Unintended transmissions shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege.

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