A Suffolk Superior Court judge has dismissed Boston Medical Center's lawsuit against the state, which accused officials of illegally cutting payments made to the hospital for treating thousands of poor patients.
In an opinion made public today, Justice Judith Fabricant ruled that neither the state nor federal law authorizes the courts to review the payment rates set by the state's secretary of health and human services, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby.
In its suit, filed last year, Boston Medical said the state financed its landmark health insurance law on the backs of poor residents by cutting money to the hospital that cares for many of them to pay for expanded coverage.
In her ruling, Fabricant said she does not "discount the seriousness" of Boston Medical's financial problems, but said that federal Medicaid laws do not guarantee the "economic well-being of any particular provider."
Bigby's office released a statement this afternoon saying the secretary is pleased that the suit was dismissed.
"We recognize the important role that these hospitals play in our health care system and look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure continued access and quality care for MassHealth members," the statement said.
Boston Medical Center also released a statement saying that its officials are still reviewing the court's ruling.
"We are pleased that the court recognized Boston Medical Centerís mission to serve all without regard for ability to pay," it said. "As we have stated from the beginning, this lawsuit was not the preferred avenue to resolve the long-term issues of how Boston Medical Center is paid for the cost of the care we provide to our patients. We continue to work cooperatively with the administration and know they share our commitment to Boston Medical Center's mission and patients."
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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