Hospital sues Missouri’s top prosecutor over trans care data
Apr 15, 2023, 10:08 AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City hospital is suing Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey over what it calls his “burdensome” requests for records on gender-affirming care.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in Jackson County, attorneys for Children’s Mercy Hospital asked a judge to deny Bailey’s 54 investigative demands for records and testimony despite the hospital facing no allegations of wrongdoing, The Kansas City Star reported.
Bailey has demanded that the hospital provide records on any prescriptions for hormone blockers as well as surgeries for transgender patients, the lawsuit said. He’s also asking for information on when the hospital has reported child abuse.
Bailey’s spokeswoman, Madeline Sieren, did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday.
In February, Bailey, a Republican who was appointed attorney general in November, announced he was investigating the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital after an employee alleged the center was providing children with gender-affirming care without informed consent.
Bailey has since expanded the investigation to other health care providers in Missouri.
On Thursday, Bailey introduced an emergency rule that will impose several restrictions before adults and children can receive drugs, hormones or surgeries “for the purpose of transitioning gender.”
Republican lawmakers across the country, including Missouri, have proposed hundreds of laws aimed at transgender people, with a particular emphasis on health care.
At least 13 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors.
Children’s Mercy argues in its lawsuit that releasing the information sought by Bailey would violate state and federal laws, including those involving private medical decisions made between patients and doctors.
The hospital also contends Bailey doesn’t have the jurisdiction to investigate health care companies and physicians, which are regulated by the Missouri Board of Healing Arts.
The lawsuit also argues many of Bailey’s requests are “poorly disguised interrogatories” that have nothing to do with gender-affirming care.
The hospital acknowledges the attorney general has the authority to investigate deceptive business practices under the state’s merchandise protection act but said the authority to use the law as an investigative tool has its limits.
The demand letter sent to Children’s Mercy “far exceeds those limits,” the lawsuit said. The facility also contends that hospitals are not regulated under that law, and said the hospital “cannot in good faith attempt to comply.”
Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri sued over Bailey’s document demands to that organization as part of its investigation.
Planned Parenthood also argued in its lawsuit that Bailey has no authority to investigate its clinic, which is inspected by the state health department.