Statement from Providence regarding charity care complaint by the Washington state attorney general

RENTON, Wash. Feb. 24, 2022 - The Providence family of organizations is extremely disappointed that the Office of the Washington State Attorney General has chosen to file inaccurate and unfair charges against us regarding our charity care and financial assistance practices. Serving every person who comes to us, regardless of ability to pay, is a central tenet of our mission as a not-for-profit organization. We take this responsibility seriously.

As the largest provider of charity care in the state of Washington, the Providence family of organizations – which includes Providence, Swedish and Kadlec – delivered $79 million in free and discounted care statewide in 2020 alone. Our practices comply with, and in many instances exceed, the requirements of Washington’s Charity Care Act. In fact, our threshold for charity care eligibility is at least two times more generous than Washington state standards.

When the AG’s office first raised their concerns with us two years ago, we cooperated fully and in good faith. That is why it is inconceivable that the AG has chosen now to file this complaint, which runs counter to the facts we provided to his office. The state has depended on Providence to help get Washington communities through the pandemic, and the organizations’ caregivers have delivered every step of the way, compassionately caring for tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients from every walk of life and socio-economic background. Now, these same caregivers are faced with the equally daunting task of getting to the backlog of non-COVID care amid the nation’s worst shortage of health care personnel.

Providence remains unwavering in our commitment to working with patients through any financial issue, and we continue to offer a range of options to best support them, including charity care. Even still, it’s our practice to always look for ways to continually enhance our services and offerings for our patients and communities. If we find out we’ve fallen short of the high standards we hold ourselves to, we make immediate changes. This is something we’ve been committed to while working with the AG’s office and as our financial assistance and charity care practices and policy in Washington state were reviewed.

While we strongly disagree with the allegations in this complaint, we’ll continue to support policies that expand access to charity care and make health care more accessible to vulnerable patients. Providence has actively partnered with the Washington State Hospital Association to support the charity care bill currently in front of the Washington state legislature, as proposed by the AG.                                                                                       

We look forward to defending ourselves in court. In the meantime, because this is pending litigation, we are not commenting further at this time. For more information about how Providence and its affiliates support our communities, please see our Annual Report to Our Communities. For an example of how our charity care programs have made a difference in the lives of our patients, we encourage you to watch this video about a patient in Washington state who benefited from our charity care programs and the financial counselor who supported her with love and compassion through the process.

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