This week's news story, "

," delves not only into the problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in Santa Fe County—but also into the complications in getting any information about that problem. Check out SFR's timeline of public records back-and-forth with the state's Aging and Long-Term Services Department.

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And just for transparency's sake, we've posted our email correspondence with ALTSD below for your perusal. SFR is still waiting for a response to original public records request.

June 14: SFR sends the following email to Kate Dauber, ALTSD records custodian:

From: Alexa Schirtzinger [mailto:alexa@sfreporter.com]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 4:08 PM
To: Dauber, Kate M., ALTSD
Subject: IPRA - June 14
 
Kate Dauber
Records Custodian
N.M. Aging & Long-Term Services Dept.

June 14, 2010

Dear Kate:

This is a formal request under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. Individually and on behalf of the Santa Fe Reporter, I wish to inspect the following records:

1) All reports of elder abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation in Santa Fe County occurring between June 1, 2008 and June 1, 2010.
2) All documentation related to investigations of the above.

I wish to inspect all records in their original format. If I require copies, I am willing to pay a reasonable fee for paper copies, and I can provide a USB drive for copying electronic records. Please notify me when the records are available for inspection. I can be reached by phone at (505) 988-5541 ext. 218 or by email at alexa@sfreporter.com. Thank you very much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Best regards,

Alexa Schirtzinger
Staff Writer
Santa Fe Reporter

June 17: ALTSD responds:

June 23: SFR responds to the denial via email:

From: Alexa Schirtzinger [mailto:alexa@sfreporter.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 1:15 PM
To: Ortiz, Ana Marie, ALTSD
Cc: Dauber, Kate M., ALTSD
Subject: Re: IPRA - June 14
 
Ana Marie Ortiz
General Counsel
Aging & Long-Term Services Department
 
Dear Ms. Ortiz:
 
Good morning. I am writing to you in regards to an Inspection of Public Records Act request which I sent to Kate Dauber on June 14, 2010. The request (pasted below) was for "All reports of elder abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation in Santa Fe County occurring between June 1, 2008 and June 1, 2010 [and] All documentation related to investigations of the above."
 
On June 17, Ms. Dauber denied my request (enclosed below as a pdf) on the basis of the Adult Protective Services Act (NMSA 1978 Section 27-7-29).
 
My questions for you are as follows:
 
1. Does the APS Act actually include ALL records related to reports of elder abuse, neglect and/or exploitation? I am not an attorney, of course, but I don't understand why the complaints themselves would be confidential as long as any identifying information (names, SSNs, addresses, etc.) is redacted.
2. Are all other records of APS confidential? If not, which types of records are available for public inspection?
3. In the event that I can't see any APS records at all, could you please provide me with the number of cases of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in Santa Fe County for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010? I would also like to know how many cases have been dismissed, how many resolved, and how many are still pending.
 
Thank you very much for your help.
 
Sincerely,
 
Alexa Schirtzinger
Staff Writer
Santa Fe Reporter

June 23: Ana Marie Ortiz, ALTSD's general counsel, replies via email:

    From:    
    Subject:     RE: IPRA - June 14
    Date:     June 23, 2010 1:42:35 PM MDT
    To:     alexa@sfreporter.com

We can provide the number of cases of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation for the time periods in question.  The APS act does exempt all records related to reports of elder abuse, neglect and/or exploitation.  Please advise if you would like ALTSD to begin gathering the number of cases responses to your request.
 
Ana Marie Ortiz,
General Counsel, ALTSD

June 23: SFR refiles IPRA request:

-----Original Message-----
From: Alexa Schirtzinger
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 2:08 PM
To: Ortiz, Ana Marie, ALTSD
Subject: Re: IPRA - June 14

Dear Ms. Ortiz:

In that case, here is my revised request.

Pursuant to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, I request 
the following information for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010:

1. Number of cases per year of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation 
reported;
2. Number of cases dismissed per year;
3. Number of cases per year that are still pending investigation; and
4. Average time it took, per year, for a case of elder abuse, neglect 
or exploitation to be resolved.

Should you have any questions about my request, please don't hesitate 
to call me: (505) 988-5541 ext. 218. Thank you!

Alexa Schirtzinger
Staff Writer
Santa Fe Reporter

June 28: ALTSD responds, requesting an extension until July 8:

5:25pm, July 7: ALTSD sends SFR the following email:

    From:   
    Subject:     FW: IPRA - June 23
    Date:     July 7, 2010 5:25:52 PM MDT
    To:     alexa@sfreporter.com

Ms. Schirtzinger,

Your original request stated that you were seeking data for Santa Fe County specifically.
The revised request below does not indicate a geographic location for the information you are requesting.
Could you please clarify the scope of your request?

Many thanks,
Kate Dauber

5:33pm, July 7: SFR responds:

-----Original Message-----
From: Alexa Schirtzinger [mailto:alexa@sfreporter.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 5:33 PM
To: Dauber, Kate M., ALTSD
Subject: Re: IPRA - June 23
Importance: High

Sorry I didn't clarify-I had assumed it would still be for Santa Fe 
County, and that is what I'm requesting. Thanks.

Alexa

5:37pm, July 7: ALTSD acknowledges receipt of SFR's reply:

From:   
    Subject:     RE: IPRA - June 23
    Date:     July 7, 2010 5:37:15 PM MDT
    To:     alexa@sfreporter.com

Thanks so much.
I will forward this to the staff members involved.

Hope you have a good evening,
Kate

July 8: ALTSD requests another extension:

July 16: ALTSD responds to SFR's June 23 IPRA request:

Aug. 30: SFR calls ALTSD to confirm information for a story on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. SFR's deadline is 3pm today.

3:46pm, Aug. 30: ALTSD sends the following email:

    From:    
    Subject:     RE: question
    Date:     August 30, 2010 3:46:21 PM MDT
    To:     alexa@sfreporter.com

Hi Alexa,
 
Thanks for covering this critical issue.  I want to make sure you are aware that the data is for people 18   not just elders.  APS serves all adults 18 years and older.
 
Thanks!

Emily
 
Emily Kaltenbach
Aging and Long-Term Services Department
Director of Policy & Planning

4:25pm, Aug. 30: SFR replies:

From: Alexa Schirtzinger [mailto:alexa@sfreporter.com]
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2010 4:25 PM
To: Kaltenbach, Emily, ALTSD
Subject: Re: question
 
Emily,
 
This is getting confusing. I'm just going to go with the numbers ALTSD gave me on the original IPRA response, which I sent to you earlier today. In that, I requested figures for the "Number of cases per year of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation." According to the letter signed by Kathleen Hart, the table included in ALTSD's response "addresses the first three items in your request." As such, I expected the table figures to mean elder abuse.
 
If any of those prior figures, or my interpretation of them, are incorrect for any reason, please let me know.
 
Thank you again for your help today, and I'm sorry I didn't give you more notice.
 
Alexa
 

5:20pm, Aug. 30: ALTSD sends new figures:

From:    
    Subject:     RE: question
    Date:     August 30, 2010 5:20:39 PM MDT
    To:     alexa@sfreporter.com

For SF County last FY (7/1/09 to 6/30/10) for age 65 & over:
 
# of reports = 224
# accepted =150
# not accepted = 74
# substantiated = 18
 
Emily Kaltenbach
Aging and Long-Term Services Department
Director of Policy & Planning

Aug. 31: SFR requests information for the 132 cases that were accepted for investigation, but not substantiated. ALTSD responds:

From:    
    Subject:     RE: question
    Date:     August 31, 2010 4:12:16 PM MDT
    To:     alexa@sfreporter.com

Alexa,
 
Of the 132 cases you asked about:
 
126 unsubstantiated
6 pending
 
Thanks,
 
Emily
 
Emily Kaltenbach
Aging and Long-Term Services Department
Director of Policy & Planning

Aug. 31: SFR refiles IPRA request: