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Lawsuit contends Franklin hospital company under spent indigent care

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  There's still more trouble for the Franklin based health care giant Community Health Systems. CHS is one of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital operators with 146 hospitals in 21 states.


On Monday, a Spokane, Washington, based foundation filed a lawsuit against CHS alleging breach of contract. Empire Health says CHS has failed to provide the level of indigent patient care promised when it bought two Spokane area hospitals in 2008.


Empire board member Mike Bell says the Spokane hospitals were in financial straits when sold, and CHS promised to make them healthy again.


“At the time we had hope and promise and were excited about the acquisition, but it hasn’t worked that way for our community which we’re really saddened about.”



In the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court Empire alleges that CHS under spent on indigent care by as much as $110 million. Bell says CHS has refused to discuss the shortfall.


“Those profits actually went to Nashville, when they really belong – that money actually belongs in the Spokane area and we would like to sit down with CHS and negotiate.”


CHS released a statement to the Spokane Review newspaper earlier this week saying it has “fulfilled all of the obligations outlined in the purchase agreement and the requirements of the Washington state Department of Health.”


CHS has experience a rapid decline in recent years. Its stock value fell from a high of $64 a share in 2015 to less than $9 this week.