The Nevada Hospital Association is playing hardball with state health officials over the release of daily reports detailing coronavirus activity.
Officials warn they’ll stop sharing those reports if the information is made public.
Governor Steve Sisolak and other state officials use those reports to make decisions, but the association has refused to make them public.
For about a month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has sought copies of the documents under Nevada’s Public Records Act.
So far, they’ve only received documents from Washoe County.
Michael Scott Davidson is an investigative reporter with Las Vegas Review-Journal. He's been working getting the information.
“They said they didn’t want to provide it to us because they thought the media likes to 'sensationalize' information,” Davidson told KNPR's State of Nevada.
But Davidson said there is always a concern with any kind of information.
“There is the possibility that that could happen when any of this information becomes public, any information becomes public, that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be public so that more thoughtful insight and articles can be written about it and experts can dissect outside the government and the hospital association,” he said.
Davidson said there is information in those reports that is important for the public to know about like how many beds were occupied, how many ICU beds were in use, and how many ventilators were in use.
“I want to look at specific hospitals to see if any were teetering towards the edge of just being at capacity or reach capacity at any point in this pandemic, which is what they were trying to make sure didn’t happen," he said.
The information Davidson was looking for is considered public record as soon as it is turned over to government agencies. While the association doesn't have to give out the records, the government agencies do.
However, the association threatened to withhold the information from Washoe County.
“The Nevada Hospital Association considered the documents to be confidential and they notified recipients, like the Washoe County Health District, that if they had made those reports public such as giving them to me, a member of the press or any other member of the public, that the government agencies would no longer receive those reports from them,” Davidson said.
Davidson has not heard from the hospital association. KNPR's State of Nevada also contacted the association about the issue but did not receive a reply.
Michael Scott Davidson, investigative reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal
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