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Home > SPJ News > University of Ky. should release records to journalist, says SPJ president

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University of Ky. should release records to journalist, says SPJ president


4/15/2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Sonny Albarado, SPJ National President, 501.551.8811, spjsonny@gmail.com
Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317.927.8000 ext. 205, cdigangi@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has urged the University of Kentucky to release to WUKY reporter Brenna Angel the records she has requested regarding Dr. Mark Plunkett, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the director of the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program.

University officials, citing HIPAA, have denied Angel access to records on UK HealthCare’s cardiothoracic surgery program. UK HealthCare placed the program under review and no longer performs cardiothoracic operations on children.

SPJ President Sonny Albarado and Linda Peterson, SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee Chair, sent a letter to the university urging prompt action on the matter. The text of the letter follows this release.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office has stated that HIPAA does not preempt the Kentucky Open Records Act, but university officials refuse to comply with the law.

SPJ calls on UK HealthCare and university officials to immediately release the records in question.

"Kentucky taxpayers should be offended that a public institution supported by their dollars chooses to hide behind a fallacious reading of HIPAA rules rather than deal with its constituency in a truthful and forthright manner,” Albarado said.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.

-END-



April 11, 2013

Dr. Eli Capilouto, President
Dr. Michael Karpf, Executive Vice President For Health Affairs
900 South Limestone
317 Wethington Building
Lexington, KY, USA 40536

Dear Dr. Capilouto and Dr. Karpf,

We are writing to you on behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, regarding WUKY reporter Brenna Angel’s request for university records .

We respectfully urge you to release to Angel the records she has requested concerning Dr. Mark Plunkett, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the director of the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program.

Whereas those records are considered public under the Kentucky Open Records Act and are not preempted by HIPAA, there is no reason for the university not to release the records.

We understand that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office has issued an opinion to that effect.

We call on UK HealthCare and university officials to comply with the law and immediately release the records in question.

Sincerely,
Linda Petersen
linda@valleyjournals.com
Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee Chair

Sonny Albarado
spjsonny@gmail.com
Society of Professional Journalists National President

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Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
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