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Examiner
  • HCA ordered to pay $162 million to foundation

  • A Jackson County judge has awarded the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City a $162 million judgment against the owner of the largest hospital system in the metropolitan area.

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  • A Jackson County judge has awarded the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City a $162 million judgment against the owner of the largest hospital system in the metropolitan area.
    The foundation sued Hospital Corporation of America in 2009, alleging HCA hadn’t spent promised funds on capital improvements at the 11 former Health Midwest hospitals it bought in 2002 for $1.13 billion. Those hospitals included the Medical Center of Independence and Independence Regional Health Center, both of which HCA closed in 2007, when it opened Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence.
    The foundation also alleged HCA hadn’t properly accounted for charity and capital improvements also required under the deal. HCA insisted it met or surpassed all of its spending obligations.
    The foundation welcomed the decision, following a bench trial in front of Circuit Court Judge John M. Torrence, and it said in a news release that it looks forward “to continuing our work eliminating barriers and promoting health quality for the uninsured and underserved ...”
    The judge ordered that HCA pay immediately, but the company indicated that it will appeal.
    Health Midwest was a non-profit. One condition of its sale of assets to the for-profit HCA was that HCA spend or commit more than $450 million in capital improvements at the existing hospitals within five years. Another condition was that HCA spend more than $500 million on charity care in the metro area.
    Also, 80 percent of the proceeds from the sale went to the foundation, which was established by the Missouri attorney general at the time of the sale. Its job is to invest those proceeds and operate as a public charity, helping those with little or no access to care or insurance. “The Foundation serves as the primary source of funding for the ‘safety-net’ organizations that help serve the health care needs of the uninsured and underinsured in the Kansas City metropolitan area,” Judge Torrence wrote.
    Torrence also ordered a forensic accountant and certifiied public accountant to serve as a special master and look more deeply into the financial records involved, including whether HCA properly accounted for the book value of Independence Regional, MCI, Lee’s Summit Hospital and Baptist Lutheran Medical Center in Kansas City.
     
     
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