FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-44-01


September 7, 2001

Mr. & Mrs. Charles Howard
2059 Overbrook Road
Lynchburg, Virginia 24501

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence of August 5, 2001.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Howard:

You have asked a question concerning access to documents from the Virginia Department of Corrections ("the Department") under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Specifically, you are trying to obtain the name of the physician at a particular state correctional facility. You ask if the name of the physician is available under FOIA, and to whom you should address such a request.

Subsection A of § 2.1-342 of the Code of Virginia states that [e]xcept as otherwise specifically provided by law, all public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizens of the Commonwealth.1 As such, unless a specific statutory provision exempts the requested information, it must be made available to the public. There is no exemption in FOIA that would exempt the name of a physician working for the Department from disclosure. It seems likely that either the chief physician for the Department or the particular facility at which the physician works would be able to supply this information.

Thank you for contacting this office. I hope that I have been of assistance.


Maria J.K. Everett
Executive Director

1. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3704(A) (Michie 2001) (effective Oct.1, 2001).