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Utah's Right to Know
Donald Meyers
Donald W. Meyers writes about open-government issues for The Salt Lake Tribune. He is also the site manager of utahsright.com, the Tribune's online database of public records. He is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists' National Freedom of Information Committee and sits on the board of directors of the Utah Foundation for Open Government.

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Gunnison hospital wants to keep doctors’ wages secret

Gunnison Valley Hospital will comply with the state’s open-records law — to a point.

Hospital representatives told the state Transparency Advisory Board Thursday that the hospital has determined it is subject to the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), and will release financial information, including salaries for most employees. The hospital, founded in the 1940s, was sold to the cities in Sanpete County’s Gunnison Valley.

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But Mark Dalley, the hospital’s chief executive, said the hospital’s lawyers advised them that they could withhold the data on the hospital’s doctors. Doing so, Dalley said, would put the hospital at a competitive disadvantage to private hospitals when it comes to hiring doctors.

GRAMA does allow public agencies to protect information that would cause "unfair competitive injury." But it also states that salary information for public employees is a record that must be released. State law also requires governmental bodies and agencies with budgets exceeding $1 million to post financial data on the state’s transparency website.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, the board’s chairman, said after the meeting that the board can only address policy issues, while the hospital’s plan to hold back physicians’ salaries is a legal question that would have to be resolved in the courts.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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