Charity care at issue in 18 lawsuits

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 12, 2004

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Uninsured patients in June filed 18 proposed class-action lawsuits against nonprofit hospitals in 10 states, claiming that the hospitals don't provide the charitable medical care they agreed to provide in return for tax exemptions. More lawsuits are expected in the weeks to come.

The patients claim that the hospitals end up with hundreds of millions of dollars annually as a result of the tax breaks, and they are asking the court to make the hospitals fulfill their agreements with the federal, state and local county governments to provide charity care.

Hospitals named in the lawsuits deny the allegations.

"Our legal system continues to be clogged by the filing of baseless and misdirected lawsuits against hospitals, diverting focus away from the real issue -- how we should work together to extend affordable health care coverage to all Americans," South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Assn. Linda S. Quick said in a statement.

Lawsuits have been filed against nonprofit hospitals in federal courts in Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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