DeLaney calls attention to governor’s pattern of withholding information
INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) today again pressed the Holcomb administration for transparency after ongoing requests for facility-level COVID-19 data were denied.
Refusal to make this information public prompted media outlets to file a formal complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor, claiming the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH)'s failure to disclose was a violation of the Indiana Access to Public Records Act.
State leaders previously maintained that disclosing such data, which Indiana's four neighboring states have been doing for several weeks now, would be a violation of an individual's private health information, despite pushback from legal and health experts. In response to the complaints,
Holcomb's Department of Health and the Public Access Counselor now say that the facility-level records requested do not exist, therefore they cannot provide them. ISDH acknowledges that it is collecting case and death information from each nursing home to determine outbreaks but claim not to be tallying the data.
“Someone obviously has the data because they've been adding it up every week to provide statewide aggregate reports,” DeLaney said. “It's like a basketball coach knowing their team's total accumulated score, but claiming not to know the points of individual players. Indiana's head coach Holcomb has the numbers, he just doesn't want to let the people have them.
“Data with names and locations of facilities has been requested by state lawmakers, media, and families and individuals desperately looking for answers about the size and scope of outbreaks. The public needs to be able to assess whether or not they believe care facilities and state regulators are doing enough to protect our most vulnerable Hoosiers.
“I'm afraid the Holcomb administration has developed a pattern of withholding or muddling vital information amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”