Education

UK foundation violated Open Records Act, attorney general finds

A University of Kentucky foundation has violated Kentucky’s Open Records Act by failing to provide documents to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office for review, that office has ruled.

Former medical student Lachin Hatemi had requested audits from the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation, which denied his request.

The Attorney General’s office has previously ruled that the foundation, which essentially operates as the billing arm of UK HealthCare, is a public entity and therefore is subject to the state’s open records and open-meetings laws. However, the foundation is fighting that decision in court and argues that Hatemi’s most recent request should be “held in abeyance” until the court rules.

However, the law does does not give an option of “abeyance,” according to the latest opinion from Beshear’s office, which carries the weight of law unless appealed to a circuit court.

Hatemi specifically requested audits the foundation conducted of a Hazard cardiology practice acquired by UK in 2014. The foundation’s lawyers said those documents were protected by attorney-client privilege. Beshear’s office asked to review the documents so it could determine whether they were protected by attorney-client privilege, but the foundation did not provide them.

“For the same reason we are unable to conduct an adequate review of KMSF’s claim of attorney-client privilege, neither can we adequately adjudicate KMSF’s remaining claims of exemption,” the ruling says.

The university also has refused to provide the documents to the Herald-Leader, which has filed an appeal with Beshear’s office.

Harry Dadds, an attorney for the foundation, said it will appeal the decision.

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