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If You Are a Hospital in Washington State, Charity Is Not Just Good for the Soul but Required by Law

 

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson reached a settlement with healthcare provider Columbia Capital Medical Center Limited Partnership d/b/a Capital Medical Center (“Capital”) to resolve allegations that the company had denied access to charity care to eligible patients in violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act and Charity Care Law.
  • According to the AG’s office, Capital allegedly charged patients for medical care even though they were near the federal poverty level, in violation of the state law that requires hospitals to provide charity care to such patients. Capital also allegedly engaged in aggressive billing and collection practices that forced charity care-qualified patients to incur medical debt or cancel needed medical procedures.
  • Under the consent decree, among other things, Capital must pay at least $250,000 in restitution to patients who did not receive the charity care they qualified for, and must provide charity care to patients with income of up to 400% of the federal poverty level for the next five years. In addition, Capital must pay $1.2 million to the AG’s office to cover the costs and fees of the investigation and lawsuit.