Judge rules in favor of Health Care Foundation

A Jackson County circuit court judge recently issued $162 million judgment in favor of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF).

A hospital owned by HCA in Kansas City, Mo. The company was sued by a local foundation for not abiding by a deal it made in 2003. Photo: David Eulitt/The Kansas City Star

The case, brought by HCF, concerned the sale of Health Midwest to the HCA in 2003. As part of that transaction, HCA committed to make $450 million investment in capital improvements in existing hospitals over a five-year period.

The transaction also committed HCA to spend more than $650 million in charity care over a 10-year period. The judge ordered an independent financial review to determine if those commitments had been met.

HCA has publicly said it will appeal the circuit court decision. HCA, in a media release stated:

"Obviously, we are disappointed in the court's ruling, and we intend to appeal. Rather than simply put money into the repair of old facilities, we built two new hospitals, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure this community has high quality care; our nurses, physicians, and all our staff deliver that care with compassion and kindness. We believe we have complied with our agreement, exceeded our promises, and we continue to spend millions for the benefit of a community we love."

LINC was very involved in encouraging the Missouri Attorney General to hold public hearings in November and December 2002 related to the sale of Health Midwest to HCA. Three public hearings were held in Missouri and additional ones conducted by the Kansas Attorney General.

The result of the sale – the largest sale of a non-profit hospital system to a for-profit company - was the formation of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) and also the REACH Healthcare Foundation in Kansas.

HCF brought the action in 2009; REACH did not participate in the civil suit.

“As a voice for the uninsured and underserved, the HCF Board of Directors felt it had a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that this population had been afforded the services promised to them through the sale of Health Midwest,” HCF said in a media release.

HCF has provided over $160 million in grants since its formation. LINC and many of its partners have received funding for various initiatives.

The 142-page ruling by Judge John Torrence is available online.

Kansas City Star story

Kansas City Star editorial

New York Times Story

HCFGKC Press Release

HCA 2012 Community Benefit Report

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