- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City has won a $434 million legal judgment in its dispute with a large, national for-profit hospital chain.

A Jackson County court ruled Wednesday that health care giant HCA didn’t come close to making the $450 million in promised capital improvements to the hospitals it purchased for $1.13 billion from Health Midwest in 2003.

The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1SSpYiU ) reports that the nonprofit Health Midwest was struggling financially when HCA bought its assets. The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City was born out of the sale.

HCA’s hospitals include the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, and Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas. It also owns Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence.

HCA said it plans to appeal the ruling and anticipates a decision by the end of 2016.

HCA had argued that the $343 million cost of two new hospitals it built should be counted toward fulfilling its capital improvements requirement, but the foundation argued that only improvement made to the original Health Midwest hospitals should be considered for the fulfillment of the $450 million obligation.

Along with the $450 million in promised improvements, the hospital chain was required to provide $65.3 million per year in charity care over 10 years. The foundation claimed that HCA did not fulfill the charity obligation. HCA agreed in February to pay $15 million to settle the charity claim.

Kenneth Southwick, the foundation’s board chairman, said the foundation’s goal was to determine if HCA had met its obligations.

“After today’s judgment, we are confident we have met that goal. And while we won’t receive any of these dollars until the appeals process is complete, the foundation remains dedicated to serving the vulnerable people in our service area,” Southwick said.

Attorney Paul Seyferth said the foundation’s endowment is now about $550 million. According to Seyferth, the court’s judgment was $436 million because of interest.

He says that if the case continues on appeal for two more years, the judgment will grow to more than $500 million.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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