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Washington CAN! & SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Commend Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Action to Hold CHI Franciscan St. Joseph Accountable to State Charity Care Laws

white-paper-mob-copyTACOMA- The patient-activists of Washington CAN! and the St. Joe’s healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW commend Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for filing suit on behalf of the patients of our community against CHI Franciscan St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma.

“We are thrilled to see Attorney General Ferguson take decisive action against CHI and uphold this state’s Charity Care requirements ,” said Toni Potter, a Washington CAN! member and activist.  “It takes an organized community speaking out and taking action to hold healthcare corporations accountable to the needs of our communities and our patients.”

Announcement of the AG’s suit comes at a time when CHI Franciscan’s operations are already under fire.  A recent report by Columbia Legal Services showed another CHI Franciscan facility, Highline Medical Center in Burien, has hung up on Spanish-speaking patients in need of charity care information.  And the state AG has also filed suit against CHI Franciscan for alleged price-fixing activities in healthcare on the Kitsap Peninsula.

Last week, the federal government’s National Labor Relations Board also filed a legal Complaint against CHI for violating federal labor law.  The NLRB’s Complaint is in part based on St. Joe’s failure to provide SEIU 1199NW with information related to its collections practices.

Washington CAN! and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have been working to hold CHI Franciscan accountable for its overpricing, aggressive collections activity, and charity care refusals for several years, including:

2012:                    Washington CAN! hosted community forum and released report “Caring for Pierce County” detailing high pricing yet poor outcomes at Pierce County hospitals

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members and Washington CAN! community activists joined area clergy in a pray-in at the hospital calling for improvements to charity care policies

2014:                    Washington CAN! members, clergy, and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members marched on St. Joe’s CEO to deliver a letter calling for an end to aggressive collections

2015:                    SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members went on strike, calling in part for an end to aggressive collections and an improved charity care policy

Washington CAN! released “Merciless Charity” report detailing aggressive collections and denial of charity care

2017:                    SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members picket the hospital, calling in part for an end to St. Joe’s collections activities against workers

“CHI Franciscan’s policies have harmed patients, including its workers,” said Suzi Powell, a Certified Nursing Assistant at St. Joseph Hospital and member of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.  “It’s time for CHI Franciscan to start living its mission and provide quality care for all its patients that doesn’t land us in collections or garnishment.”


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