|June 18, 2019
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records related to blood lead levels in Rhode Island children:
- Records of letters sent from the Rhode Island Department of Health to primary care providers (PCP) recommending venous test confirmation for children who had blood lead levels <5µg/dL as found from a capillary test between January 1, 2012 and January, 2019.
- Records of referrals from the Rhode Island Department of Health to families with children who had blood levels >5µg/dL to a lead center between January 1, 2012 and January, 2019
- Records of the five most recent educational home visits from lead centers to the homes of children with blood lead levels >5µg/dL
Please redact personally-identifiable information as appropriate. If your office has any questions about this request, please feel free to contact me at the MuckRock office at 617-299-1832.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
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 10 days, as the statute requires.
I am writing in reply to your records request for records related to blood lead levels among Rhode Island children. I'm attaching your original request for reference. Under the Access to Public Records Act statute medical records are considered "medical information relating to any individual in any file" and are exempted from disclosure by R.I. Gen. Laws §38-2-2(A)(I)(a). Letters with information about blood lead levels are not public and are therefore not being provided. Records about home visits from lead centers are also not being provided. However, attached are blank versions of these letters without any protected health information.
Additionally, I wanted to let you know that the Rhode Island Department of Health makes substantial aggregate information about childhood lead poisoning rates public. See this page<http://www.health.ri.gov/data/childhoodleadpoisoning/>, and in these tables<https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PY9H5kwseYPoLwm-WTm0oSD8x-sQ7RIF0IN-LWPUtFk/edit#gid=1263478879>. This information includes data on new incidence, prevalence, rates in individual cities and rates, rates by year, and rates by rural vs. urban vs. suburban communities. My hope is that this information will inform any story you are working on regarding childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island.
Because some of the records are being withheld from you, I read R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-8 as requiring the Department give you notice of your right to appeal this decision of denial under the Access to Public Records Act to the Director of Health, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908, as Chief Administrator Officer of this agency. You may also file an objection or complaint with the Department of the Attorney General, 150 South Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island, 02903, or the Rhode Island Superior Court of the county where the record(s) are maintained. Further information concerning Rhode Island's Access to Public Records Act may be available through the Attorney General's website at www.riag.org<http://www.riag.org>.
Joseph Wendelken | Public Information Officer
Rhode Island Department of Health
3 Capitol Hill, Room 401; Providence, Rhode Island 02908
Desk: 401-222-3998 | Mobile: 401-378-0704 | Weekend press contact: 401-641-8726
This message and all attachments may contain information that is confidential and/or proprietary to the Rhode Island Department of Health, including personal health information, and disclosure or distribution to anyone other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you believe you have received this information in error, please notify the sender by replying to this email and immediately delete this message without disclosure.