Q&A: Executive session for strategic planning


From the Corydon Democrat:

Q: Does the following qualify for an executive session? “There will be a Special Executive Session meeting of the Harrison County Hospital Board of Trustees, Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 2 p.m., in the Harrison Room at Harrison County Hospital.

This meeting will be to discuss strategic planning in reference to Indiana Open Door Law, I.C.5-14-1.5-1 et seq. and Indiana Peer Review Act I.C. 34-4-12.6-1 et seq.”

A: You may want to double-check the Indiana Peer Review Act code citation that the board provided you.

I couldn’t find that code cite when I got on the Indiana legislature’s website and plugged in the 34-4-12.6-1 code.

As to “strategic planning,” that is allowed as executive session subject matter under IC 16-22-3-28(c)(4) for county hospitals.

HSPA worked with the state’s hospital association on that language years ago. The public policy behind this statute was to allow county hospitals to fairly compete against private hospitals.

For example, a county hospital plans to incentivize a family practice doctor to locate in a particular community to build a practice with the arrangement that the doctor would refer patients to the county hospital.

If that planning discussion was held in an open meeting, then the competing hospital could learn of the plan and beat the county hospital to the punch, siphoning off patients through their newly placed doctor referrals that otherwise would have helped the county hospital’s bottom line.

The same scenario would apply to placement of satellite facilities or plans to promote areas of medical expertise as a marketing tool.

The subject matter for the executive session is OK, but question them about the code cite provided.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.