SPOKANE, Wash. – Gamma Knife of Spokane said it has not been getting paid for the services it provided to patients at Deaconess Medical Center and have filed a complaint for damages against Community Health Systems, CHS.
"It's frustrating, it's disappointing, really, because all we want to do is treat patients with brain tumors and malformations, that's all we want to do and just be adequately reimbursed for what we do,” said Bo Cooke from Gamma Knife of Spokane.
Gamma Knife says the problem started in 2013 when the amount CHS was paying them for services significantly decreased.
"The hospital, CHS, kept 70 percent of what they collected from Medicaid patients and healthy options patients and never reimbursed us, mislead us to believe that that's all we were getting paid and left town when they sold to multi care,” Cooke said.
Until recently, CHS owned Deaconess Medical Center. The company is based out of Tennessee and bought Deaconess in 2008.
"The hospital is a great entity, the people that work there are terrific people, great nurses and doctors and the health care you get at Deaconess is terrific. It's the administration of the hospital that was sideways,” Attorney Bob Dunn said. “The folks from Tennessee who really cared how much money ended up back in Tennessee as opposed to what they were doing in terms of fairness here in Spokane. That's what this is about."
For the past four years, Gamma Knife of Spokane said it has tried to get CHS to correct the problem. Cooke said hundreds of emails were sent back and forth but CHS never fixed the payment issue.
“We kept complaining until finally I went to the Governor's Office and sat down with them and said what's going on? This doesn't make sense. And they said ‘that's wrong that's not how it's supposed to be reimbursed’ and then provided me the amount, that's when I just went ‘this is ridiculous,’" Cooke said.
KREM 2 reached out to CHS for comment about the complaint but never heard back. Gamma Knife of Spokane says CHS owes them just under half a million dollars.
"CHS needs to answer for this. We're not vindictive, we aren't. we just want to be paid for the work we do,” Cooke said.
Multicare Health System now owns Deaconess and is not involved in the complaint.