Washington AG Alleges Overcharging of Low-Income Patients

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against several Providence St. Joseph Health affiliates (collectively “Providence”) alleging that they engaged in unfair and deceptive practices to deprive low-income patients of the free and reduced-cost charity care to which they were entitled.
  • According to the complaint, beginning in 2018, Providence-affiliated hospitals trained employees to aggressively collect payment without regard for a patient’s eligibility for financial assistance. The facilities also allegedly failed to notify patients of their eligibility for assistance, and sent over 54,000 patient accounts eligible for financial assistance, with over $70 million in payments due, to collection.
  • The lawsuit alleges that Providence’s conduct violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, and seeks, among other things, civil penalties, injunctive relief, and restitution to eligible patients in the form of write-offs of medical debts and refunds, plus interest.