Crime & Courts

Quality Health Care sues Kansas hospital over failure to pay

The Sumner Regional Medical Center in Wellington is facing the same financial troubles plaguing many rural hospitals.
The Sumner Regional Medical Center in Wellington is facing the same financial troubles plaguing many rural hospitals. Kansas City Star

Quality Health Care of Wellington is suing the city of Wellington and Sumner Regional Medical Center over what it says is Sumner Regional’s failure to pay for services.

Quality Health Care operated a behavioral health unit at Sumner Regional from 2010 until early 2017, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in Sedgwick County District Court, says that Sumner defaulted on the agreement and owes Quality Health Care more than $717,000 in management fees.

Messages to Les Dean, president and CEO of Sumner Regional, and James Robinson Jr., attorney for Quality Health Care, were not returned. Fred Hinman, chairman of the health care authority board that oversees Sumner Regional Medical Center, said he was out of town and unaware of the details of the lawsuit.

Earlier this month, the Kansas City Star reported that the hospital was “struggling to stay alive.” It nearly missed payroll early this year and shed nearly 10 percent of its staff.

The city of Wellington has been forgiving the hospital’s utility bills since at least 2010, and the facility has payable debt of about $4 million. A sales tax in Wellington contributes about $100,000 a month to the hospital, Hinman told The Eagle in April.

In September 2016, the hospital’s operating profit margin was a negative 25.8 percent, according to iVantage Health Analytics.

Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess

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