Washington state for-profit hospital allegedly denied charity care to low-income patients

By Mark Iandolo | Oct 3, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Sept. 22 that his office has filed a lawsuit against Capital Medical Center in Olympia for allegations of withholding charity care from select patients.

Ferguson’s office is charging Capital with violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act. The for-profit hospital allegedly created a scheme to avoid providing charity care for low-income patients. It purportedly trained its staff to pressure patients into upfront payments for treatments without screening for charity care eligibility.

The directive came straight from the top, according to Ferguson’s office. Capital CEO Jim Griest purportedly called his staff “moneymakers.” Ferguson’s office alleges he ordered staff to “get something out of” every patient.

“Capital’s unlawful collections practices prevented thousands of Washington’s neediest patients from receiving charity care,” Ferguson said. “I am committed to ensuring that all Washingtonians, regardless of income, have access to affordable care.”

The lawsuit was filed in Thurston County Superior Court. Ferguson’s office will seek a $2,000 penalty for each violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

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