This is a tough question because Idaho makes it that way. For me this all "boils down" to the state attorney general allowing the hospital to let their administrative rules supercede public law. The state attorney general doesn't seem to have the control of the situation that he should have. Public law basically says that where restricted records and unrestricted records are stored together, the unrestricted records are to be released to the public. Officially, the hospital will tell you absolutely nothing about a relative. Does that sound right to anybody? State Hospital South's administrative rules override state law. The state attorney general's answer is to let you settle the matter in court. Apparently, the law will only be obeyed if the time and money is spent in Idaho courts. The current governor's administration was very helpful, but they can only do so much. The last governor's administration was no help at all.
My recommendation to you is to "beat the bushes" and "shake the trees" any way you can. Myself, I've written newspapers, state and federal representatives, governor's offices. If enough people would do the same, somebody, someday might do something about this. The freedom of information act just doesn't do enough yet. I'm not finished, and I'm not going to spend time and money in court. Yes, these folks that we're interested in were wards of the state but the information about them is strictly personal family informtion that no one has a right to permanently withold from family members. I'll get down off of my soap box now and good luck to you. Making any headway with information about you family member will not be easy. Hopefully, ancestry.com will allow this message to stand.