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Open Records: Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31 - 19.39

Notice of Public Records Access

Department Organization

The Department of Health Services (DHS) is organized into five divisions plus the Office of Policy Initiatives and Budget (OPIB), the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). The secretary, deputy secretary, assistant deputy secretary, and division administrators hold "state public offices" as defined in the statutes. The administrator of each division is the legal custodian of the records of that division, and the directors of OPIB, OIG, and chief legal counsel of the OLC are the legal custodians of the records of their respective offices. In some parts of DHS, the legal custodians have delegated their authority to deputy custodians. The legal custodians and their deputies are responsible for deciding whether requested records can be disclosed to the public and for ensuring that record requests are processed appropriately.

The Division of Care and Treatment Services (DCTS) is responsible for planning and implementing services to meet the need of persons with mental health and substance abuse problems. DCTS also provides services through two mental health institutes, three developmental disability centers, and the two secure treatment centers to mentally ill patients and sexually violent persons, as well as correctional clients. Record custodian, room 850; 608-267-0213,

The Division of Enterprise Services (DES) provides personnel, financial, audit, purchasing, contract administration, information technology, and other administrative services to DHS. Record custodian, room 672; 608-266-8445,

The Division of Medicaid Services (DMS) administers essential health and nutrition programs including Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, SeniorCare and FoodShare to children, low-income families and elderly, and persons with disabilities; responsible for planning and implementing services to meet the long-term support needs of the elderly and persons with developmental, physical, or sensory disabilities. Record custodian, room 472; 608-266-8922,

The Division of Public Health (DPH) administers public health programs, including communicable disease, environmental, occupational, and family/community health, chronic disease, disease/injury prevention, emergency medical services, the vital records system, and certain health planning systems. Record custodian, room 250; 608-266-1251,

The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) is responsible for oversight of most health care facilities and providers licensed to conduct business in Wisconsin. Visit the Division of Quality Assurance: Requests for Information webpage for additional information about records requests pertaining to DQA-regulated providers. Records custodian, room 450, 608-622-0140,

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducts audits of providers who receive department funds, performs internal audits of department programs and operations, and investigates allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse of DHS resources by contractors, providers, and recipients. Record custodian, room 950; 608-261-8308,

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) provides legal advice and representation to DHS. Record custodian, room 651; 608-267-5093,

The Office of Policy Initiatives and Budget (OPIB) develops the DHS budget, manages implementation of federal block grants, oversees tribal affairs and the e-Health Initiative, and conducts policy research and analysis. Record custodian, room 618; 608-266-3816,

The Office of the Secretary (OS): 608-266-9622,

All other requests can be submitted to Room 651, 608-267-5093,

Record Access Rights

Record requests may be made orally unless security requirements or an applicable law necessitates a written request. If you are denied access to a record, you must be informed of the legal basis for the denial. If your request was in writing, you may appeal the denial by bringing an action for mandamus in the circuit court of the county in which the record is held. You may also submit a written request to that county's district attorney or to the state attorney general to bring a mandamus action.

Office Hours

Records can be requested during normal office hours: 7:45–11:45 a.m. and 12:30–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Some records may only be available at the main offices at 1 West Wilson Street, PO Box 7850, Madison, Wisconsin 53707.


If no other copy fee is set by law, the standard charge for each side of a black and white photocopied page is $0.0135, for each side of a color photocopied page is $0.0632, and a CD or DVD is $0.13. If a record is in a form that cannot be photocopied, you may be charged the actual cost of producing a copy. Reproduction costs will not be charged on a per page basis if DHS provides electronic copies of records that already exist in electronic format or if DHS converts paper records to electronic format. DHS will not charge for the cost of reviewing records for possible redaction or removal of confidential information. If a fee for locating a record is set by law, you will be charged that fee; otherwise, if the cost of searching for and identifying responsive records exceeds $50, an hourly charge will be imposed for staff time at the hourly rate of salary and benefits for the lowest paid employee capable of performing the task. However, the hourly rate of salary and benefits for the lowest paid employee capable of performing the task cannot exceed $30. In rare cases, an employee with special skills may be necessary to conduct a search at a higher rate. In addition, if copies are mailed or shipped to you, you may be asked to pay for the actual cost of the mailing or shipping. Prepayment of costs may be required if total costs exceed $5 or if otherwise required by law.

If you have questions or require assistance accessing DHS public records, please contact the specific division or office identified above.

Last revised June 23, 2023