(a) A request should reasonably identify the requested record by brief description. Requesters who have detailed information which would assist in identifying the records requested are urged to provide such information in order to expedite the handling of the request. Envelopes in which written requests are submitted should be clearly identified as Freedom of Information requests. The request should include the fee or request determination of the fee. When necessary, a written request will be promptly forwarded to the proper office, and the requester will be advised of the date of the receipt and identification and address of the proper office.
(b) Determinations of whether records will be released or withheld will be made within 10 working days from date of receipt of the request in the office listed in § 401.128 except where CMS extends this time and sends notice of such extension to the requester. Such extension may not exceed 10 additional working days and shall apply only where the following unusual circumstances exist:
(1) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the requests;
(2) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are requested in a single request; or
(3) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the request or among two or more components of CMS having a substantial interest in the subject matter of the request.
(c) If an extension is made, the requester will be notified in writing before the expiration of 10 working days from receipt of the request and will be given an explanation of why the extension was necessary and the date on which a determination will be made.
(d) Authority to extend the time limit with respect to any request for information or records is granted to the Director, Office of Public Affairs, CMS and to the Director of Public Affairs in any HHS Regional Office. Those officers and employees of CMS who are listed in § 401.144(a) as having authority to deny requests for information from records maintained on individuals are granted authority to extend the time limit for responding to requests for information from such records.