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Appellate court hears HCA appeal of $433.7 million judgment against it

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge in December 2015 ordered HCA to pay $433.7 million to the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, one of two foundations created from the $1.13 billion Health Midwest sale to HCA. HCA appealed that ruling Tuesday.
A Jackson County Circuit Court judge in December 2015 ordered HCA to pay $433.7 million to the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, one of two foundations created from the $1.13 billion Health Midwest sale to HCA. HCA appealed that ruling Tuesday.

A three-judge appeals court panel on Tuesday heard arguments connected to a lawsuit filed in 2009 by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

The lawsuit charged that HCA had failed to live up to agreements forged when the for-profit hospital company bought the nonprofit Health Midwest hospitals in 2003.

The agreement provided for HCA to spend more than $600 million on charity and uncompensated care in the Kansas City metro area by 2013 and to spend $450 million on capital improvements after HCA bought the assets of the Health Midwest hospitals.

The lawsuit focused on charity care was settled in 2015, but the capital improvements litigation continued.

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge in December 2015 ordered HCA to pay $433.7 million to the health care foundation, one of two foundations created from the $1.13 billion Health Midwest sale to HCA.

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District is considering HCA’s appeal of the judgment. HCA argues that it spent $343 million building new hospitals in Independence and Lee’s Summit and that spending counts toward its capital improvements obligation.

The foundation disagrees, arguing that building new hospitals wasn’t the same as spending the amount to improve the former Health Midwest facilities.

Previously, in the capital improvements litigation, the foundation won a judgment against HCA for $162 million in 2013 and an additional $77 million in 2014, when a special master review said promised spending had fallen short.

The earlier judgments grew to $433.7 million because the awards accrued interest for nonpayment.

The appellate court’s opinion is expected in several weeks.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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