Agency’s reluctance on records worries openness advocates

Agency’s reluctance on records worries openness advocates

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Open records advocates say the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is wrong to keep secret the names of some people who publicly commented about a Gov. Scott Walker proposal to drug-test Medicaid applicants.

The department says it has to withhold information to protect private health information as required by state and federal law.

But Diane Welsh, a private attorney who was the top lawyer for the state Department of Health and Family Services for several years, says the names of anyone who commented and did not self-identify as being on Medicaid should be made public.

How the agency handled comments in this case could mean that the public won’t be able to find out who weighs in – either pro or con – on other issues in the future.