University of Ky. should release records to journalist, says SPJ president
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sonny Albarado, SPJ National President, 501.551.8811, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317.927.8000 ext. 205, email@example.com
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.