HCA loses suit against Kansas City foundation

The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City on Thursday won a $162 million lawsuit against Hospital Corp. of America, the nation’s largest profit-making hospital chain.

Missouri Judge John Torrence ruled that HCA had failed to abide by an agreement to make improvements to dilapidated hospitals that it bought in the Kansas City area back in 2003.

HCF filed a lawsuit against HCA and its affiliate, HM Acquisition, in October 2009 to ensure that it had complied with its more than $950 million obligation to area residents. The purpose of the lawsuit was to determine if HCA had complied with its obligations to make $450 million in capital improvements to existing Health Midwest facilities and provide more than $500 million in charity care, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City clarified.

HCA acquired a dozen hospitals from Health Midwest in 2003 for $1.125 billion.

After HCA representatives have repeatedly said the company met or surpassed its obligations, on Thursday they said the company would appeal the court’s decision.

“As a voice for the uninsured and underserved, the HCF Board of Directors felt it had the fiduciary responsibility to make sure that this population had been afforded the services promised to them through the sale of Health Midwest,” HCF Board Chair Karen Cox said in a statement. “We appreciate the decision the court has made and we look forward to continuing our work eliminating barriers and promoting quality health for the uninsured and underserved in our service area.”

Then-Attorney General Jay Nixon creatted the foundation back in 2002 as part of HCA’s purchase of Health Midwest, a regional nonprofit health care provider that operated 11 hospitals and other facilities in Missouri and Kansas. Since it began grantmaking in 2005, HCF awarded more than $160 million in grants to agencies in its service area of Kansas City, Mo., in addition to other counties in Kansas and Missouri.

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