CREW Files FOIA Requests with the Florida DOH & Governor’s Office Regarding Repeal of Rule 64C-4.003
On January 29, 2016, CREW filed open records requests with the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida and the Florida Department of Health, seeking communications from January 1, 2014 to January 29, 2016 regarding the repeal of Rule 64C-4.003, which pertains to the state’s Children’s Medical Services’ standards for diagnosing and treating pediatric heart conditions. The requests seek all communications regarding the rule between officials in the Department of Health and the Governor’s Office and employees of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, FL and its parent company Tenet Healthcare. The requests also seek communications between the Governor’s Office and DOH that mention the rule or any of the subject matter covered by the rule. The requests follow up on reports that lawmakers repealed Rule 64C-4.003 after receiving large campaign contributions from Tenet Healthcare. In June 2015, CNN reported that a series of infant deaths occurred in St. Mary’s cardiac surgery program which led to nationwide scrutiny of the program. State medical officials determined the hospital did not follow the state’s pediatric heart surgery standards. But, after a barrage of campaign donations to Gov. Scott, Florida repealed the rule requiring those standards.