The Nebraska attorney general has sided with a student newspaper's request that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reveal the contents of a Lincoln hospital’s bid to build and operate a new University Health Center.
But the university still has not decided whether to release the information, spokeswoman Kelly Bartling said Thursday.
The Daily Nebraskan sent a letter to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning on Oct. 12 to request an opinion on the university’s refusal to reveal the contents of the bid.
Citing Nebraska public records law, the newspaper requested the bid from Bryan Health, the only company to submit a proposal to build and operate the center.
In an Oct. 29 response to the Daily Nebraskan, Bruning’s office called on UNL to release the bid but allowed the university to redact portions that might convey proprietary information about Bryan Health to its competitors.
“We would like to have not gone through this three-week waiting process,” said Andrew Dickinson, editor-in-chief for the UNL student newspaper.
UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman announced plans Sept. 11 to seek a private vendor to build and run a new health center. The university has created an evaluation committee to review the Bryan Health bid and make a recommendation to Perlman.
If things move forward, the university would hand over operation of the health center to the private provider about May 1. The university is requiring the private provider to keep the health center’s nearly 100 employees on the payroll for at least 90 days after the contract's effective date.
On Wednesday, a Daily Nebraskan staff editorial called on the university to be more transparent about the process it’s using to choose a private contractor.
Dickinson said the newspaper wanted to see the bid so it could provide its readers with more detailed information about what Bryan Health would do if chosen.
“Potential privatization of the health center can affect students in a lot of ways, and those ways aren’t particularly clear at this point,” he said.