The plan is to post the records on the county attorney's website, Patteson added, and 329-bed University Hospital already has e-mailed O'Connell's office with some of the records. Officials have a Thursday afternoon deadline to provide the rest. So far the hospital has sent the common purpose agreement, an analysis of the merger's benefits to the university and a one-page memo with a merger analysis, Patteson said.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Irv Maze last week ordered the hospital to provide him with the records, which were received on Monday. The hospital and O'Connell were to appear in court on Dec. 21 to argue if those records should be made public.
A hospital spokesman said he could not comment at deadline. Patteson said the settlement allowed for the release of all the documents O'Connell had requested: “We'll see; we're still awaiting the bulk of the records.”
O'Connell filed a lawsuit in November demanding University Hospital officials to release those records in the public's interest. University officials claimed the hospital was a private entity, and exempt from Kentucky's public records law. O'Connell maintained the hospital as a public body, and vulnerable to the law. That's an opinion shared with Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who ruled University Hospital a public entity earlier this year. Hospital officials filed a lawsuit to dispute the ruling.
The planned $620 million merger also involves 462-bed Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare in Louisville, as well as St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, which is run by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives. Officials aimed to close the deal by Jan. 1, but have received an unusual amount of scrutiny over the merger, drawing criticism from local politicians and the Kentucky chapter of the America Civil Liberties Union. The merger still requires approvals from the Roman Catholic Church and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.
O'Connell's office hired an expert on hospital mergers from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., as a consultant, Patteson said. That consultant made suggestions to what records to request, Patteson said.