HCA Midwest Health, which operates seven hospitals in metropolitan Kansas City, says it will invest $93 million in three of the hospitals.
In a news release Wednesday, the company says it plans to put $59 million into Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, $23 million in Research Medical Center in Kansas City and $11 million in Lee’s Summit Medical Center.
The money will be used for additional beds, emergency room expansion and other infrastructure improvements.
Centerpoint, which was built nearly a decade ago and plans to open a $20 million cancer center in the fall, will get three new floors, additional surgical and ICU beds and a new physical medicine and rehab unit, according to the release.
M.L. Lagarde III, president of HCA Midwest Health, touted the investments as coming atop more than $1 billion in capital improvements HCA has made in the area since 2005.
HCA’s capital contributions are at the center of litigation initiated against the company by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City in 2009. In December, a Jackson County judge found HCA liable for $239.4 million over its failure to fund hospital improvements it promised to make after buying the assets of non-profit Health Midwest in 2003.
The amount was part of a $434 million judgment handed down by the court that included interest, attorneys’ fees and a finding that HCA had also reneged on charitable and uncompensated care commitments it undertook as a condition of the Health Midwest purchase. HCA has appealed the judgment.
One of the issues in the case is whether HCA’s construction of new hospitals, such as Centerpoint, fulfilled its capital obligations. HCA says it does; the Health Care Foundation, which was established with proceeds from the sale of Health Midwest’s hospitals, says it does not.
HCA Midwest Health is part of Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Holdings Inc., which operates 168 hospitals nationwide. Besides Centerpoint, Research and Lee’s Summit, it operates Belton Regional Medical Center, Lafayette Regional Health Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Psychiatric Center. It also owns Midwest Physicians, a network of 80 practices throughout the metropolitan area.
Editor's note: The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City provides funding for Heartland Health Monitor.
Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.