State Supreme Court ruling gives guidance on application of Public Records Act

January 19, 2017

The State Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Court of Appeals on a case that could have placed private entities, including private hospitals and health systems that receive government reimbursements or grants, at risk of being unconditionally subjected to the state Public Records Act, resulting in exposure of proprietary information and administrative burden. The ruling upheld the creation of a test that will be used to determine if a private entity should be subject to the act based on several criteria of government involvement.

In the case, Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoological Society, a private citizen requested elephant records from the zoo, contending that the records should be subject to the Public Records Act given that the zoo had a management agreement with the City of Seattle and received city funds. WSHA and AWPHD partnered with SEIU Healthcare, the Community Health Plan of Washington and other nonprofit groups to submit an amicus brief in the case. Click here to read the court ruling. (Taya Briley)


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