ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNMENT GENERALLY: VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION ACT: COMMISSIONS, BOARDS AND INSTITUTIONS: VIRGINIA
HEALTH SERVICES COST REVIEW COUNCIL.
Council may not meet in executive session to discuss financial
reports submitted by health care institution.
October 12, 1989
Ms. Ann Y. McGee
Director, Virginia Health Services Cost Review Council
You ask whether the Virginia Health Services Cost Review Council
(the "Council") may meet in executive session to review health care
institutional budgets and historical filings submitted by health care
institutions pursuant to §9-159 of the Code of Virginia.
I. Applicable Statutes
The Council operates pursuant to Chapter 26 of Title 9,
§§9-156 through 9-166 ("Chapter 26"). The Council's general
duties involve the review, analysis, and investigation of issues
related to health care costs. Section 9-159(A) imposes significant
financial reporting requirements on health care institutions. Section
The findings, recommendations and justification for such
recommendations of the Council shall be open to public inspection,
but individual health care institution filings made pursuant to
this chapter shall not be subject to the provisions of 2.1-342.
Individual patient and personnel information shall not be
Section 2.1-342, a portion of The Virginia Freedom of Information
Act, §§2.1-340 through 2.1-346.1 (the "FOIA"), governs
disclosure of official records. Section 2.1-343 provides, in
Except as otherwise specifically provided by law and
except as provided in §§2.1-344 and 2.1-345, all
meetings shall be public meetings, including meetings and work
sessions during which no votes are cast or any decisions made.
Section 2.1-344(A) authorizes a public body to meet in executive
sessions to discuss certain limited topics.
II. Council May Not Meet in Executive Session to Discuss Health
Care Institution Financial Reports
The Council is a "public body" subject to the FOIA open meeting
requirement imposed by §2.1-343. See §2.1-341. Section
9-159 (B) exempts health care institution financial filings from the
disclosure of official records requirement imposed by §2.1-342
of the FOIA. No provision of Chapter 26, however, authorizes the
Council to convene in executive session to discuss health care
institution financial filings. I have reviewed the exceptions to the
FOIA's open meeting requirement provided in §2.1-344(A). None of
these exceptions authorizes the Council to meet in executive session
to discuss health care institution financial filings. In the absence
of an applicable exception, it is my opinion that the Council may not
meet in executive session to discuss the financial reports submitted
by health care institutions. The exemption of these financial reports
from the disclosure of official records requirement of the FOIA,
provided by §9-159(B), in my opinion, is not sufficient to
authorize the Council to meet in executive session to discuss the
reports. Compare 1983-1984
Att'y Gen. Ann. Rep. 447 (general fund revenue estimate documents
held by Governor's advisory boards excepted from mandatory
disclosure; advisory boards may not meet in executive session to
discuss revenue estimates).