- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Health Systems Corp. filed a lawsuit claiming land leases it entered into with the Pacific Cancer Institute are illegal and should be voided.

The corporation filed the suit Tuesday over the land leases it entered in 2005 and 2012, the Maui News reported .

The corporation said the 2012 lease violates two federal laws, while the institute said those allegations are inaccurate.

The cancer institute’s founder, Dr. Bobby Baker, said he is saddened that the announcement of the lawsuit could cause patients to worry about where they are going to receive treatment. But parties on both sides of the lawsuit said maintaining radiation cancer treatment for Maui County patients is a priority.

The institute provides the island’s only radiation therapy.

The quasi-government health systems corporation said that it reached a stalemate with the institute after more than a year of lease negotiations.

It said the lease violates the Stark Law and the anti-kickback statute, which prohibit hospitals from providing free or discounted goods or services.

“Under these laws, PCI is required to pay HHSC the fair market value of the goods and services that it currently receives at no cost or steeply reduced cost,” the corporation said. “These goods and services include utilities, patient and staff parking, common area usage, generator usage and, until very recently, linen service, medical gasses, pest control services, facility improvements and many other items that are not adequately addressed in the existing ground lease.”

There was no immediate comment from the corporation on why it entered into the leases if they violated federal laws.

Baker said all of the leases and agreements were drafted by attorneys representing both parties.

“I am not an attorney, and I have to depend on their expertise to ensure that these types of agreements are done correctly,” he said. “I spent most of my professional life fighting to make sure that Maui cancer patients have access to state-of-the-art care. I don’t plan to stop that fight anytime soon.”

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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