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Attorney General Jack Conway has ruled that University Medical Center is a public institution.

In a ruling Thursday, Conway rejected arguments from University of Louisville officials. They said UMC’s U of L Hospital was private, despite receiving government support and being a branch of a public university.

The ruling was a response to an appeal brought by the ACLU after the hospital rejected an open records request. The Courier-Journal later joined the case.

UMC officials released a statement saying they are disappointed in the ruling and will decide whether to appeal sometime in the next month.

UMC has been under increased scrutiny as it prepares to merge with Jewish Hospital and a division of Catholic Health Initiatives. The merged healthcare operator would be required to follow Catholic care directives, meaning reproductive and end-of-life care could change.

It’s not yet clear how Conway’s ruling would affect the merger, since a now-public entity would be combining with a religious institution.