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Deaconess and Valley hospitals’ owner failed to provide up to $110 million worth of charity care promised to low-income patients during its tenure in Spokane, a lawsuit filed Monday said.

Empire Health Foundation filed the suit against Community Health Systems of Tennessee, one of the nation’s larger for-profit hospital chains, which bought Deaconess and Valley hospitals in 2008.

As part of the purchase, Community Health Systems agreed to meet or exceed the average level of hospital charity care spending in Eastern Washington, the suit said.

An analysis of the hospitals’ charity spending reported to the state Department of Health indicated that CHS fell at least $55 million short of promised levels through 2015, the suit said. The litigation also accuses CHS of inflating the cost of the charity care it did provide, which could put the shortfall as high as $110 million.

CHS is on the verge of selling both hospitals and leaving the Spokane market.

Read the full article here: The Spokesman-Review