The Georgia Court of Appeals in Atlanta has affirmed a lower court order declaring that Northwest Georgia Health Systems and Promina Health System are subject to the state's open-records and open-meetings acts.
The ruling last week upheld one by Judge Harris Hines in Cobb County Superior Court in a suit filed by Times-Journal, publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal (May 8, p. 36).
Attorneys for the health alliance had argued they didn't come under the state's open-records and open-meetings rules, or "sunshine" laws, because they received less than one-third of their funding from taxpayers and therefore weren't public agencies.
Promina, formed last year, is a private, not-for-profit holding company that manages the public hospital systems of Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett and Paulding counties, along with private Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Northwest Georgia Health Systems is associated with hospitals in Gwinnett County.