MultiCare Health System’s billing practices were the subject of recent media coverage. We want you to know that MultiCare adheres to the highest legal and ethical standards in all of our billing and collection practices.
We also wanted to share with you our commitment to taking care of our community. For more than 130 years, we have been dedicated to improving the health of the areas we serve and to providing free care for those who cannot pay. Everyone is welcome in our hospitals and emergency departments regardless of their ability to pay.
In 2013, MultiCare supported more than $180 million in community benefit including funding various community health programs and providing $47 million in charity care. In addition, we absorbed $146.5 million in unpaid bills.
To further our charitable mission, we have an obligation to preserve our assets, reinvest in our communities and work to sustain the long-term viability of our organization.
As part of this obligation, we need to pursue payment for services we provide. Our community, our patients, our donors, our insurance partners and other purchasers of our services including the federal and state governments expect this of our organization.
Sometimes we treat patients who are injured by a third party. There likely will be a settlement that includes medical bills as part of the monetary award. We believe these third parties are responsible for paying for medical care for the patients they harmed. One way we can ensure we receive reimbursement is to file a claim – called a lien – on the settlement. These liens are not filed on individual people but are filed only on the settlements. This practice is supported by Washington State law.