Is University Hospital public? Attorney general will decide; merger proposal raises question of church-state separation

Attorney General Jack Conway has been asked to decide “whether University Hospital is a public institution — an issue in the controversial plan to merge the University of Louisville’s main teaching hospital with two other health-care systems,” Patrick Howington of The Courier-Journal reports.

ACLU of Kentucky and The Courier-Journal have appealed denials of of open-records requests they made to University Medical Center Inc., which does business as University Hospital. “UMC turned down both requests on grounds that it is a nonprofit corporation rather than a public agency and therefore isn’t subject to the act,” Howington writes. An attorney general’s opinion on open records or open meetings has the force of law unless overturned in court.

Meanwhile, Howington also writes that “Some legal advocates and constitutional scholars say,” citing court cases, that the hospital’s “plan to follow Catholic health-care directives under a pending merger could violate the U.S. Constitution’s provision to keep state and religious matters separate.” (Read more)

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