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Bert Fish's Sunshine Violation During Merger Ruled Unintentional

State Attorney R.J. Larizza has said that while Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., violated the state's Sunshine Law in its merger with Adventist Health System, the violations were unintentional and therefore do not warrant any criminal charges, according to a News-Journal report.

The Sunshine Law establishes a basic right of access to most meetings of boards, commissions and other governing bodies of state and local governmental agencies or authorities.

As part of his determination, Mr. Larizza's office asked the Bert Fish board to make a donation to an organization that supports open government and take a course through the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University.

Bert Fish and Adventist's Florida Hospital in Orlando originally merged in July, but in September announced they would rehold merger meetings as a result of a civil lawsuit filed by a foundation alleging the groups violated the Sunshine Law. The foundation plans to move
forward with its civil case.

After reholding merger meetings, Bert Fish reselected Florida Hospital as its partner. The system also received bids from Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Halifax Health and Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates. 

Read the News-Journal report on Bert Fish Medical Center.

Read previous coverage on Bert Fish Medical Center:

- Judge to Hear Lawsuit Involving Merger of Florida's Bert Fish Medical Center in February

Florida's Bert Fish, Adventist Health Ask Judge to Expedite Trial for Violating Sunshine Law

Florida's Bert Fish Board Votes Again to Merge With Adventist

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