Health Care Auth. for Baptist Health v. Cent. Ala. Radiation Oncology, LLC — June 2019 (PDF)
DISCOVERY OF DOCUMENTS/OPEN RECORDS
Health Care Auth. for Baptist Health v. Cent. Ala. Radiation Oncology, LLC
No. 1171030 (Ala. June 28, 2019)
The Supreme Court of Alabama upheld a lower court decision requiring the disclosure of Board meeting minutes and other documents distributed to the Board by a health care system functioning in Alabama under state law as a “health care authority.” The case involved a dispute between the health care system and one of its radiology providers, with which it had a noncompete agreement. When the health care system filed for a certificate of need to open a new radiation oncology service in a nearby community, the radiology group filed suit for violation of the non-compete, among other things.
During the course of that litigation and pursuant to the Open Records Act, the radiology group sought from the health care system a number of documents, including Board minutes and all of the Authority’s documents concerning radiation oncology and the use or expansion of such services. The Authority claimed that it was formed via an agreement between private hospitals and a university (the University of Alabama) and, in turn, was not subject to the Open Records Act in the same manner as an authority formed by a governmental entity.
The court rejected this distinction and held that the health care system accepted certain benefits of becoming a government-authorized authority and, in turn, was subject to the same responsibilities – including compliance with the Open Records Act – as other authorities. Accordingly, the court upheld the requirement that the health care system disclose the requested records to the radiology group.