In May 2012, the Law Center presented its appeal at hearing before the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records in Harrisburg. This was only the second case the Office of Open Records has granted a hearing to since the new Right to Know Law took effect on January 1, 2009.
In the hearing, we presented a number of exhibits showing that payment rates to MCOs (and to doctors and dentists thereafter) are not secret in many state Medicaid programs, and that Pennsylvania has released similar data in part and in other contexts, undermining its confidentiality argument. We also presented caselaw holding that entities spending public funds should not be allowed to keep secret how they spend those funds.
DPW and the MCOs called about half a dozen fact witnesses and one expert witness, none of whom we were allowed to depose in advance. (There are no clear rights to take depositions or receive expert reports under the Right To Know administrative rules, and it is unclear if we would be allowed to further develop the factual record upon appeal to the Commonwealth Court.)
Even if we are ultimately unsuccessful, the hearing provided useful insights about how we may try to obtain the information in later right-to-know requests.