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PAR Writes Letter to The Daily Reveille Editor

The text of a PAR letter to the editor of The Daily Reveille follows:

The recent publication of an unfinished confidential draft of a Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) report on charity hospitals may have been intended by Reveille editors to inform the public about a vital and complex issue. Instead, the premature release of this work-in-progress is likely to confuse your readers and divert attention from the finished product – hardly the desired result. In a matter of a few weeks, the final PAR report will be published with a complete set of fully vetted recommendations for reform – at which point duplication and distribution will be most appropriate.

External review is a standard part of the process by which PAR develops its independent reports for publication. For each publication, we seek input from representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups both during the initial research stages and following the development of a preliminary draft. This essential input ensures that our findings and recommendations are informed by all sides of the debate. The integrity of our research requires such thorough review.

Our unfinished drafts are subject to change until the day we publish. For this reason we ask that drafts circulated for review remain confidential. Of course, as champions of openness in government, we understand that our drafts become public records the moment we send them to public officials. However, the mainstream media have generally respected our request for confidentiality with the understanding that premature news and editorial reports on our research can only serve to confuse and mislead the public. Unfortunately, now that our document has been published on the Reveille’s Web site, the incomplete draft findings and recommendations will be circulated well beyond the LSU campus.

As we continue to develop our analysis of the state’s charity hospital system, we hope that the public is made fully aware of the preliminary nature of the draft published by The Daily Reveille. We also hope that our final report is given as much prominence and publicity as the early draft. While we fail to see the usefulness of publishing an unfinished draft copy, we are invigorated to learn that the student media are so closely following this important public policy debate.

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