The United States government is asking for information from mobile phone providers, but there is a catch.
If you can’t get through to the government to get information, your request will likely be ignored.
It’s a new approach to federal requests for records from the public.
In an attempt to help the government better understand Americans’ health, the Obama administration has launched a pilot program in some of the country’s most populous counties.
The goal of the program, called the Health Care Freedom Project, is to help states and counties better track the people who call in for medical help.
To do this, the government has asked cellphone companies to send a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The request will be reviewed by the government’s Office of Inspector General and the Federal Communications Commission.
For the time being, the goal is to work with the phone companies, said Mark Muro, director of the Office of Health Services at the HHS.
If the phone company doesn’t comply with the request, the phone numbers are disconnected and a government representative will call and ask for the phone number’s IP address.
If they do comply, the call is forwarded to the phone provider’s phone number, which then forwards the request to CMS.
“That process is not always perfect, and we’ve seen some providers that just don’t take it,” said Sarah Hirsch, who oversees the Centers’ Medicare and Health Services branch.
But she said the goal has been to get the numbers in line with the government.
“They’ve gotten this process right so far,” she said.
A phone call is one of many ways the government can request information from phone companies.
Other methods include asking the number of the phone call, how long the call lasted, whether there was a recorded voice message or text message, and the time the call ended.
The phone companies have not been able to get a response to any of those requests.
Muro said he expects the process to improve as more states try to track people who receive emergency medical care through the state-run HealthCare.gov, which allows people to get care without a doctor’s appointment.
CMS does not make it easy for consumers to see their own requests, which can be confusing, Muro added.
Some states and localities have tried to set up a “phonebook” to help people find out how much information the phone providers are sending them.
Miro said the effort is not meant to be used as a tool to target specific people.
“It’s just an attempt by CMS to help us understand what we need to know so we can better inform the American public and get them the most up-to-date information,” he said.
For now, the number is still relatively small.
According to Muro’s office, only about 1,000 requests have been made in the first year of the pilot program.
So far, the only data that has been generated is phone numbers that have been requested by the phone carriers, Muralvay said.
Muralva said the government wants to continue to build upon the pilot and make sure that as states implement more detailed requests, the data is accurate and complete.
“We don’t want to get into a situation where we’re going to be in a position where people are not even seeing this information,” Muralvas said.